#meta-programming #derive #proc-macro #meta


Turns instances of Rust structures into a token stream that creates the instance

7 releases

0.3.4 Mar 1, 2024
0.3.3 Feb 1, 2023
0.3.2 Jan 30, 2023
0.2.0 May 31, 2022
0.1.0 Jan 3, 2022

#257 in Rust patterns

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115 downloads per month
Used in 8 crates (6 directly)

MIT license

287 lines

Self Rust Tokenize

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For taking a instance of a structure and generating a proc_macro2::TokenStream of tokens which generate the structure.


Deriving on a custom type

struct A(pub i32);

let a = A(12);

The use case may be: sharing a structure between a crate that deals with instances of it and a proc macro crate which generates tokens that build the instances in a exported proc macro.

It can be used for doing constant compilation of structures that allocate due to the nature of the structure. (this crate was built for the partial constant compilation of abstract syntax trees).

/// Base definition crate
pub struct SpecialStructure { 
    // ...

impl SpecialStructure {
    pub fn generate_from_input(&str) -> Self {
        // some long implementation

/// Proc macro crate
use base_crate::SpecialStructure; 

pub fn make_special_structure(item: TokenStream) -> TokenStream {
    let input = parse_macro_input!(item as LitStr).value();
    let instance = SpecialStructure::generate_from_input(&input);
    let instance_constructor = instance.to_tokens();
    quote! {
            use ::base_crate::SpecialStructure;

/// Main crate
SpecialStructure::generate_from_input("hello") == make_special_structure!("hello")

note that the derived token stream is not scoped, you have to import the structures themselves

Cargo Features

  • smallvec, adds implementation of SelfRustTokenize for SmallVec in the smallvec crate
  • references, adds implementation of SelfRustTokenize for immutable and mutable references and immutable and mutable slices. Note that for references the tokenization does not preserve the structure as pointer information is different in the tokenization of the new structure. e.g ptr::eq will behavior differently. (thus the reasoning for this being a opt-in feature)

Why self_rust_tokenize::SelfRustTokenize trait and not quote::ToTokens?

quote::ToTokens is defined on many types in std to return a more primitive representation of themselves and can lose their type structure. On the other hand self_rust_tokenize::SelfRustTokenize implementations on std types keeps the type constructor information. Thus a new trait (self_rust_tokenize::SelfRustTokenize) is needed to prevent implementation conflicts.


let hello_string = String::new("Hello");
self_rust_tokenize::SelfRustTokenize::to_tokens(hello_string) == quote!(::std::string::String::new("Hello"));
quote::ToTokens::to_tokens(hello_string) == quote!("Hello");


~20K SLoC