ref-cast 0.1.0

Safely cast &T to &U where the struct U contains a single field of type T.


Build Status Latest Version Rust Documentation

Safely cast &T to &U where the struct U contains a single field of type T.

ref-cast = "0.1"

Basic example

extern crate ref_cast;
use ref_cast::RefCast;

struct U(String);

fn main() {
    let s = String::new();

    // Safely cast from `&String` to `&U`.
    let u = U::ref_cast(&s);

Realistic example

Suppose we have a multidimensional array represented in a flat buffer in row-major order for performance reasons, but we want to expose an indexing operation that works in column-major order because it is more intuitive in the context of our application.

const MAP_WIDTH: usize = 4;

struct Tile(u8);

struct TileMap {
    storage: Vec<Tile>,

// `tilemap[x][y]` should give us `[y * MAP_WIDTH + x]`.

The signature of the Index trait in Rust is such that the output is forced to be borrowed from the type being indexed. So something like the following is not going to work.

struct Column<'a> {
    tilemap: &'a TileMap,
    x: usize,

// Does not work! The output of Index must be a reference that is
// borrowed from self. Here the type Column is not a reference.
impl Index<usize> for TileMap {
    fn index(&self, x: usize) -> Column {
        assert!(x < MAP_WIDTH);
        Column { tilemap: self, x }

impl<'a> Index<usize> for Column<'a> {
    # type Output = Tile;
    fn index(&self, y: usize) -> &Tile {
        &[y * MAP_WIDTH + self.x]

Here is a working approach using RefCast.

struct Strided([Tile]);

// Implement `tilemap[x][y]` as `tilemap[x..][y * MAP_WIDTH]`.
impl Index<usize> for TileMap {
    type Output = Strided;
    fn index(&self, x: usize) -> &Self::Output {
        assert!(x < MAP_WIDTH);

impl Index<usize> for Strided {
    type Output = Tile;
    fn index(&self, y: usize) -> &Self::Output {
        &self.0[y * MAP_WIDTH]


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Unless you explicitly state otherwise, any contribution intentionally submitted for inclusion in this crate by you, as defined in the Apache-2.0 license, shall be dual licensed as above, without any additional terms or conditions.