#serde #option #field #trinary


Alternative data type to Option for representing values that can have 3 states: present, missing or null

6 releases

0.1.6 Jul 27, 2023
0.1.5 Jun 22, 2023
0.1.4 May 17, 2023
0.1.3 Oct 1, 2022
0.1.2 Jul 7, 2021

#4 in #field

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190 downloads per month
Used in 2 crates (via fractal-storage-client)

MIT license

374 lines

Optional Field

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Provides a Rust type and serialization/deserialization implementations for values that can be represented by 3 states: missing, present but null and present with a value.

pub enum Field<T> {

This can be useful when using JSON or other formats whereby the default in serde is to treat missing keys and null values as the same, deserializing them to Option::None. A similar problem exists when serializing as you have to create your own 3-state enum and tag each field with skip_serializing_if in order to not serialize a field.

This can be problematic with APIs where partial objects or diffs are provided and you don't know whether you need to set the value to null or not update value should be left alone.

By using Field you are able to distinguish between null values and missing keys and get serde to behave correctly in these scenarios.

use serde::{Deserialize, Serialize};
use serde_json::json;
use optional_field::{Field, serde_optional_fields};

#[derive(Debug, Serialize, Deserialize)]
struct Thing {
    one: Field<u8>,
    two: Field<u8>,
    three: Field<u8>,

fn main() {
    let thing = serde_json::from_value::<Thing>(json!(
            "one": 1,
            "two": null,

    assert_eq!(Field::Present(Some(1)), thing.one);
    assert_eq!(Field::Present(None), thing.two);
    assert_eq!(Field::Missing, thing.three);


Field implements many of the methods you are familiar with on Option such as map, unwrap, as_ref etc. Field will return the value from within the Option for these methods but also provides an equivalent set of methods for accessing the Option itself. These equivalent methods follow the pattern of adding _present to the method name. For example, given Present(Some(100)), unwrap() will return 100 whereas unwrap_present() will return Some(100).

use optional_field::Field;

struct Thing {
    one: Field<u8>,
    two: Field<u8>,
    three: Field<u8>,

fn main() {
    let num_field = Field::Present(Some(100));
    // Calling map gets the value out of the Option within Present
    assert_eq!(200, num_field.map(|n| n * 2));
    // Calling map_present gets the option out of Present
    assert_eq!(false, num_field.map_present(|opt| opt.is_none()));


By default optional-field has serde and the serde macro as dependencies. If you wish to use optional-field without pulling in serde you can set default-features to false.

optional-field = { version = "0.1.5", default-features = false }


MIT license (LICENSE.txt or http://opensource.org/licenses/MIT)


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