#thread #mutex #once #called #rwlock


For serialising calls to functions

2 stable releases

1.0.1 Jun 4, 2022

#481 in Concurrency

39 downloads per month

MIT license

65 lines

One At A Time Please

Mark functions as being #[one_at_a_time], and instantly only one thread can call them at a time. It's quick and dirty synchronisation of calls to functions.

What is for?

Lets say you have a number of functions. They will get called from multiple threads. You only want one of them ever called at a time. When that happens you want the rest to all be blocked.

For example; you have a load of tests. You want to run them in parallel, except for four of them. Which should run in serial.

(Single-threaded recursion is still allowed.)

How does it work?

Internally there is a big lock. Functions marked with one_at_a_time will aquire that big lock. When they have it, then everyone else is blocked.


  • #[one_at_a_time] -- An annotation to add to functions. Functions marked with this can only be called on one thread at a time. Otherwise they (politely) wait until it's their turn.
  • one_at_a_time() -- A helper function to do this yourself in code. You call it, pass in a lambda, and it will (politely) wait until the lock is free. Then run.
  • OneAtATime - All of the other APIs share one giant lock. This is a struct that allows you to make your own lock, and use that instead.



use ::one_at_a_time_please::one_at_a_time;

/// This __cannot__ be called from different threads at the same time.
fn add(a: u32, b: u32) -> u32 {
    a + b

one_at_a_time<F>(f: FnOnce() -> R) -> F

use ::one_at_a_time_please::one_at_a_time;

/// This __can__ be called from different threads at the same time ...
fn some_function(a: u32, b: u32) -> u32 {
    /// but this __cannot__ be called from different threads.
    one_at_a_time(move || {
        a + b

struct OneAtATime

use ::one_at_a_time_please::one_at_a_time;
use ::std::sync::Arc;

/// This example is for showing that you can make your own lock,
/// and block on that.
/// This is a different lock to what `#[one_at_a_time]` uses.
/// It's behaviour will not overlap with them.
fn some_function(a: u32, b: u32) -> u32 {
    let oaat = Arc::new(OneAtATime::new());

    for i in 0 .. 10 {
        let thread_local_oaat = oaat.clone();
        let thread = spawn(move || {
            for _ in 0..10 {
                thread_local_oaat.call(|| {
                    // do stuff here

Advanced Example

An example of a (terrible) unsafe counter is provided in tests. Where it's made safe to call using #[one_at_a_time].

You can find it at tests/unsafe_counter.rs.


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