Crate assoc[][src]

AssocExt is a trait extension that allows you to work with Vec<(K, V)> as if it were a map. It provides APIs for querying, adding, and removing key-value pairs, as well as an Entry API. It places no constraints on the keys other than PartialEq.

use assoc::AssocExt;

#[derive(PartialEq, Debug)]
enum MyKey {

let mut map = vec![(MyKey::A, 1), (MyKey::B, 2)];
assert_eq!(map.get(&MyKey::C), Some(&3));
map.entry(MyKey::A).and_modify(|e| *e += 1).or_insert(9);
assert_eq!(map.get(&MyKey::A), Some(&2));


std::collections offers two maps: HashMap and BTreeMap. HashMap requires that its keys implement Hash and Eq while BTreeMap requires that its keys implement Ord and Eq. Hash and Ord enable efficient implementations of mapping data structures; however, they are not necessary for general mapping data structures. std::collections falls short when working with keys that cannot implement Hash or Ord.

For example, the following snippet fails to compile because Hash is not implemented for MyKey:

use std::collections::HashMap;

#[derive(PartialEq, Eq, Debug)]
enum MyKey {

let map = vec![(MyKey::A, 1), (MyKey::B, 2)]
    .collect::<HashMap<MyKey, u64>>();


Using a Vec as a general mapping data structure through AssocExt comes with the drawback of inefficient lookups. Since AssocExt cannot rely on keys being hashable or comparable, all operations that require lookups invoke a linear search through the underlying vector. Querying for a key k invokes O(N) equality comparisons with k.

Workflows that involve frequenty resizing should consider using Vec with AssocExt as it takes advantage of spatial locality during reallocation. Empirically, Vecs are faster than HashMaps and BTreeMaps when performing operations such as growing the maps to around 50 elements. For larger maps, the cost of linear searches begins to dominate. Unexpectedly, Vec has a lower memory footprint than HashMap and BTreeMap.

The Entry API eliminates the need for multiple sequential lookups (e.g. check for existence of a key, then add the key if it doesn’t exist). Invoking AssocExt::entry requires one initial linear search, then constant time access for in-place mutation thereafter.

PartialEq vs Eq

Strictly speaking, a map’s keys should implement Eq, which is why this crate provides a AssocStrictExt as well. This trait extension behaves like AssocExt but requires K: Eq.

This is a notable distinction when working with keys containing floating point values. Since f32::NAN != f32::NAN, maps cannot update existing entries that have keys containing f32::NAN:

use assoc::AssocExt;

let mut v = vec![(1.0, "a")];
assert_eq!(format!("{:?}", v), r#"[(1.0, "a"), (NaN, "b"), (NaN, "c")]"#);

Using floating points as keys in a map is often a code smell, but for use cases that don’t run into NaNs AssocExt is a great fit.



See the module level documentation for an overview.



A trait extension that allows vectors to be treated as associative arrays.


This has the same API as AssocExt but with the additional constraint K: Eq.