This file offers some tips on the coding conventions for rustc. This chapter covers formatting, coding for correctness, using crates from crates.io, and some tips on structuring your PR for easy review.

Formatting and the tidy script

rustc is slowly moving towards the Rust standard coding style; at the moment, however, it follows a rather more chaotic style. We do have some mandatory formatting conventions, which are automatically enforced by a script we affectionately call the "tidy" script. The tidy script runs automatically when you do ./x.py test and can be run in isolation with ./x.py test src/tools/tidy.

Copyright notice

Some existing files begin with a copyright and license notice. Please omit this notice for new files licensed under the standard terms (dual MIT/Apache-2.0). For existing files, the year at the top is not meaningful: copyright protections are in fact automatic from the moment of authorship. We do not typically edit the years on existing files.

Line length

Lines should be at most 100 characters. It's even better if you can keep things to 80.

Ignoring the line length limit. Sometimes – in particular for tests – it can be necessary to exempt yourself from this limit. In that case, you can add a comment towards the top of the file (after the copyright notice) like so:


# #![allow(unused_variables)]
#fn main() {
// ignore-tidy-linelength
#}

Tabs vs spaces

Prefer 4-space indent.

Coding for correctness

Beyond formatting, there are a few other tips that are worth following.

Prefer exhaustive matches

Using _ in a match is convenient, but it means that when new variants are added to the enum, they may not get handled correctly. Ask yourself: if a new variant were added to this enum, what's the chance that it would want to use the _ code, versus having some other treatment? Unless the answer is "low", then prefer an exhaustive match. (The same advice applies to if let and while let, which are effectively tests for a single variant.)

Use "TODO" comments for things you don't want to forget

As a useful tool to yourself, you can insert a // TODO comment for something that you want to get back to before you land your PR:

fn do_something() {
    if something_else {
        unimplemented!(); // TODO write this
    }
}

The tidy script will report an error for a // TODO comment, so this code would not be able to land until the TODO is fixed (or removed).

This can also be useful in a PR as a way to signal from one commit that you are leaving a bug that a later commit will fix:

if foo {
    return true; // TODO wrong, but will be fixed in a later commit
}

Using crates from crates.io

It is allowed to use crates from crates.io, though external dependencies should not be added gratuitously. All such crates must have a suitably permissive license. There is an automatic check which inspects the Cargo metadata to ensure this.

How to structure your PR

How you prepare the commits in your PR can make a big difference for the reviewer. Here are some tips.

Isolate "pure refactorings" into their own commit. For example, if you rename a method, then put that rename into its own commit, along with the renames of all the uses.

More commits is usually better. If you are doing a large change, it's almost always better to break it up into smaller steps that can be independently understood. The one thing to be aware of is that if you introduce some code following one strategy, then change it dramatically (versus adding to it) in a later commit, that 'back-and-forth' can be confusing.

If you run rustfmt and the file was not already formatted, isolate that into its own commit. This is really the same as the previous rule, but it's worth highlighting. It's ok to rustfmt files, but since we do not currently run rustfmt all the time, that can introduce a lot of noise into your commit. Please isolate that into its own commit. This also makes rebases a lot less painful, since rustfmt tends to cause a lot of merge conflicts, and having those isolated into their own commit makes them easier to resolve.

No merges. We do not allow merge commits into our history, other than those by bors. If you get a merge conflict, rebase instead via a command like git rebase -i rust-lang/master (presuming you use the name rust-lang for your remote).

Individual commits do not have to build (but it's nice). We do not require that every intermediate commit successfully builds – we only expect to be able to bisect at a PR level. However, if you can make individual commits build, that is always helpful.