#service #async


A Service like tower in async style

18 releases

0.2.3 Jan 16, 2024
0.2.2 Jan 15, 2024
0.2.0 Nov 10, 2023
0.1.13 Jul 18, 2023
0.1.9 Jun 29, 2023

#170 in Asynchronous

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Service Async


A Service like tower in async style.


In tower system, the Service is a future factory, we usually use it serially and spawn the future to make them running in parallel.

  1. But in this style means the future cannot capture &self or &mut self. We have to clone and move ownership into the future.
  2. Also, the Service trait of tower is defined in poll style, which means we have to maintain status by ourself. Writing poll is hard, usually we have to use Box<Pin<...>> to utilize async/await.

That's why we can see so many code like this:

impl<S, Req> tower::Service<Req> for SomeStruct<S>
    type Response = ...;
    type Error = ...;
    type Future = Pin<Box<dyn Future<Output = ...> + Send + 'static>>;

    fn poll_ready(&mut self, cx: &mut Context<'_>) -> Poll<Result<(), Self::Error>> {

    fn call(&mut self, req: Req) -> Self::Future {
        let client = self.client.clone();
        Box::pin(async move {

Use Service-Async

With this crate, users can make their code simpler and faster. There's no unnecessary clone or Box<dyn<...>> here.

  1. To avoid clone, we can make the future not static and capture &self or &mut self with GAT.
  2. To avoid Box, we can utilize impl_trait_in_assoc_type. Without Box, more code can be inlined if they not cross an await point.

Now the future generated by the Service captures &self or &mut self, to make it can run in parallel, we have to choose from these 2 solutions:

  1. Use &self and a single Service instance.
  2. Use &mut self and create a new Service instance on a new call.

The solution1 seems better. Making Service itself mutable is useless when it is for one-time use.

So we get a new Service with GAT:

pub trait Service<Request> {
    /// Responses given by the service.
    type Response;
    /// Errors produced by the service.
    type Error;

    /// The future response value.
    type Future<'cx>: Future<Output = Result<Self::Response, Self::Error>>
        Self: 'cx,
        Request: 'cx;

    /// Process the request and return the response asynchronously.
    fn call(&self, req: Request) -> Self::Future<'_>;

There's also no need for keeping a function like poll_ready since we maintain state inside the future.

Compared with tower, this Service is used in a completely different way. The Service is no longer a future factory but a request handler. It has to use Mutex or RefCell if users want mutable.

Tower's Service needs to use shared ownership to tear down the reference relationship (each share pays a cost), our Service keeps the reference relationship, and the user only pays the cost when they need mutable.

Assemble Service

The Layer provided by tower is a good Service assembler, it does not couple the definition of Service trait. You can always use it if it meets your needs.

This crate also provides a way to assemble services with the ability to merge state from old service chain. It helps when old services maintain resources like connection pool, and users want to update the service chain with new configuration.

The factories that impl MakeService can create service via an optional old one. To make the chain easier to assemble, a factory can define a layer fn to create a factory wrapper. It works like tower Layer: tower's layer creates Service with inner Service; our layer creates Factory with inner Factory, and the Factory can be used to create the whole Service.

So tower's layer is not a recursive structure, as well as our factory layer. With the help of FactoryStack, users can create a factory by composing factory layers in chain style.

Use Case

Demo example illustrates how this system works.

A common use case is a gateway app: the main thread receives updates and creates factory, and send the shared factory to worker threads. Worker threads create Service with the shared factory, then wrap it with Rc then replace the maintained one. When a new request comes, the Rc<Svc> will be cloned and used to process the request. With the help of this crate, updating and migrating service state become easy.


This crate requires nightly toolchain.