Replace Entry::get with Entry::or_insert and Entry::or_insert_with for better ergonomics and clearer code.


Entry::get was introduced to reduce a lot of the boiler-plate involved in simple Entry usage. Two incredibly common patterns in particular stand out:

match map.entry(key) => {
    Entry::Vacant(entry) => { entry.insert(1); },
    Entry::Occupied(entry) => { *entry.get_mut() += 1; },
match map.entry(key) => {
    Entry::Vacant(entry) => { entry.insert(vec![val]); },
    Entry::Occupied(entry) => { entry.get_mut().push(val); },

This code is noisy, and is visibly fighting the Entry API a bit, such as having to suppress the return value of insert. It requires the Entry enum to be imported into scope. It requires the user to learn a whole new API. It also introduces a “many ways to do it” stylistic ambiguity:

match map.entry(key) => {
    Entry::Vacant(entry) => entry.insert(vec![]),
    Entry::Occupied(entry) => entry.into_mut(),

Entry::get tries to address some of this by doing something similar to Result::ok. It maps the Entry into a more familiar Result, while automatically converting the Occupied case into an &mut V. Usage looks like:

*map.entry(key).get().unwrap_or_else(|entry| entry.insert(0)) += 1;
map.entry(key).get().unwrap_or_else(|entry| entry.insert(vec![])).push(val);

This is certainly nicer. No imports are needed, the Occupied case is handled, and we’re closer to a “only one way”. However this is still fairly tedious and arcane. get provides little meaning for what is done; unwrap_or_else is long and scary-sounding; and VacantEntry literally only supports insert, so having to call it seems redundant.

Detailed design

Replace Entry::get with the following two methods:

    /// Ensures a value is in the entry by inserting the default if empty, and returns
    /// a mutable reference to the value in the entry.
    pub fn or_insert(self, default: V) -> &'a mut V {
        match self {
            Occupied(entry) => entry.into_mut(),
            Vacant(entry) => entry.insert(default),

    /// Ensures a value is in the entry by inserting the result of the default function if empty,
    /// and returns a mutable reference to the value in the entry.
    pub fn or_insert_with<F: FnOnce() -> V>(self, default: F) -> &'a mut V {
        match self {
            Occupied(entry) => entry.into_mut(),
            Vacant(entry) => entry.insert(default()),

which allows the following:

*map.entry(key).or_insert(0) += 1;
// vec![] doesn't even allocate, and is only 3 ptrs big.
let val = map.entry(key).or_insert_with(|| expensive(big, data));

Look at all that ergonomics. Look at it. This pushes us more into the “one right way” territory, since this is unambiguously clearer and easier than a full match or abusing Result. Novices don’t really need to learn the entry API at all with this. They can just learn the .entry(key).or_insert(value) incantation to start, and work their way up to more complex usage later.

Oh hey look this entire RFC is already implemented with all of rust-lang/rust’s entry usage audited and updated:


Replaces the composability of just mapping to a Result with more ad hoc specialty methods. This is hardly a drawback for the reasons stated in the RFC. Maybe someone was really leveraging the Result-ness in an exotic way, but it was likely an abuse of the API. Regardless, the get method is trivial to write as a consumer of the API.


Settle for Result chumpsville or abandon this sugar altogether. Truly, fates worse than death.

Unresolved questions