Recursion

Internally, async fn creates a state machine type containing each sub-Future being .awaited. This makes recursive async fns a little tricky, since the resulting state machine type has to contain itself:


#![allow(unused_variables)]
fn main() {
// This function:
async fn foo() {
    step_one().await;
    step_two().await;
}
// generates a type like this:
enum Foo {
    First(StepOne),
    Second(StepTwo),
}

// So this function:
async fn recursive() {
    recursive().await;
    recursive().await;
}

// generates a type like this:
enum Recursive {
    First(Recursive),
    Second(Recursive),
}
}

This won't work-- we've created an infinitely-sized type! The compiler will complain:

error[E0733]: recursion in an `async fn` requires boxing
 --> src/lib.rs:1:22
  |
1 | async fn recursive() {
  |                      ^ an `async fn` cannot invoke itself directly
  |
  = note: a recursive `async fn` must be rewritten to return a boxed future.

In order to allow this, we have to introduce an indirection using Box. Unfortunately, compiler limitations mean that just wrapping the calls to recursive() in Box::pin isn't enough. To make this work, we have to make recursive into a non-async function which returns a .boxed() async block:


#![allow(unused_variables)]
fn main() {
use futures::future::{BoxFuture, FutureExt};

fn recursive() -> BoxFuture<'static, ()> {
    async move {
        recursive().await;
        recursive().await;
    }.boxed()
}
}