Futures 0.1 Compatibility Layer

Rust’s futures ecosystem is currently split in two: On the one hand we have the vibrant ecosystem built around futures@0.1 with its many libraries working on stable Rust and on the other hand there’s the unstable std::future ecosystem with support for the ergonomic and powerful async/await language feature. To bridge the gap between these two worlds we have introduced a compatibility layer as part of the futures@0.3 extension to std::future. This blog post aims to give an overview over how to use it.


The compatibility layer can be enabled by setting the compat feature in your Cargo.toml:

futures-preview = { version = "0.3.0-alpha.14", features = ["compat"] }

To use futures@0.1 and futures@0.3 together in a single project, we can make use of the new cargo feature for renaming dependencies. Why? Because, even though the futures@0.3 crate is called futures-preview on crates.io, it’s lib name is also futures. By renaming futures version 0.1 to futures01, we can avoid a name collision:

futures01 = { package = "futures", version = "0.1", optional = true }

Note: Renaming the crate is only required if you specify it as a dependency. If your project only depends on Tokio and thus only indirectly on futures@0.1, then no renaming is required.

Async functions on 0.1 executors

The compatibility layer makes it possible to run std futures on executors built for futures@0.1. This makes it for instance possible to run futures created via async/await! on Tokio’s executor. Here’s how this looks like:

#![feature(async_await, await_macro, futures_api)]
use futures::future::{FutureExt, TryFutureExt};

let future03 = async {
    println!("Running on the pool");

let future01 = future03


Turning a std future into a 0.1 future requires three steps:

  • First, the future needs to be a TryFuture, i.e. a future with Output = Result<T, E>. If your future isn’t a TryFuture yet, you can quickly make it one using the unit_error combinator which wraps the output in a Result<T, ()>.

  • Next, the future needs to be Unpin. If your future isn’t Unpin yet, you can use the boxed combinator which wraps the future in a Pin<Box>.

  • The final step is to call the compat combinator which wraps the std future into a 0.1 future that can run on any 0.1 executor.

0.1 futures in async functions

The conversion from a 0.1 future to a std future also works via a compat combinator method:

use futures::compat::Future01CompatExt;

let future03 = future01.compat();

It converts a 0.1 Future<Item = T, Error = E> into a std Future<Output = Result<T, E>>.

Streams and Sinks

Converting between 0.1 and 0.3 streams and sinks are possible via the TryStreamExt::compat, Stream01CompatExt::compat, SinkExt::compat and Sink01CompatExt::sink_compat methods. These combinators work analogously to their future equivalents.


Finally from the core compat feature, there’s also conversions between futures 0.1 Executor trait and futures 0.3 Spawn trait. Again, these function near identically to the futures compatibility functions with SpawnExt::compat and Executor01CompatExt::compat providing the conversions in each direction.

Async IO

With futures 0.1 IO was almost exclusively provided by Tokio, this was reflected in the core IO traits being provided by tokio-io. With 0.3 instead the futures crate is providing these core abstractions along with generic utilities that work with them. To convert between these traits you can enable the io-compat feature in your Cargo.toml (this will implicitly enable the base compat feature as well):

futures-preview = { version = "0.3.0-alpha.14", features = ["io-compat"] }

This provides the 4 expected conversions: AsyncReadExt::compat and AsyncRead01CompatExt::compat to convert between futures::io::AsyncRead and tokio-io::AsyncRead; and AsyncWriteExt::compat_write and AsyncWrite01CompatExt::compat to convert between futures::io::AsyncWrite and tokio-io::AsyncWrite.


The compatibility layer offers conversions in both directions and thus enables gradual migrations and experiments with std::future. With that it manages to bridge the gap between the futures 0.1 and futures 0.3 ecosystems.

Finally a self contained example that shows using futures 0.1 based hyper and tokio with a std async/await layer in between:

futures-preview = { version = "0.3.0-alpha.14", features = ["io-compat"] }
hyper = "0.12.25"
tokio = "0.1.16"
pin-utils = "0.1.0-alpha.4"
#![feature(async_await, await_macro, futures_api)]

use futures::{
  compat::{Future01CompatExt, Stream01CompatExt, AsyncWrite01CompatExt},
  future::{FutureExt, TryFutureExt},
use pin_utils::pin_mut;
use std::error::Error;

fn main() {
    let future03 = async {
        let url = "http://httpbin.org/ip".parse()?;

        let client = hyper::Client::new();
        let res = await!(client.get(url).compat())?;
        println!("{}", res.status());

        let body = res.into_body().compat();

        let mut stdout = tokio::io::stdout().compat();
        while let Some(Ok(chunk)) = await!(body.next()) {


    tokio::run(future03.map_err(|e: Box<dyn Error>| panic!("{}", e)).boxed().compat())

Special thanks goes to the main authors of the compatibility layer: