try-let 0.1.2

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Build Status

This is an implementation of a try-let similar to the one proposed in RFC #1303, as a syntax extension.

NOTE: This is a syntax extension, and thus uses unstable features and will not work on stable rust.


try-let is implemented using a syntax extension instead of a macro, as parsing the pattern expression in the way which try-let needs to is not possible with a macro_rules! macro.

To use the plugin, add #[plugin(try_let)] to the top of the project, like so:


The actual use is fairly similar to a let expression:

try_let!(Some(x) = ... else return Err("Shoot! There was a problem!"));

The expression after else must diverge (e.g. via return, continue, break or panic!).

If you care about the values of other alternatives, you can match against them too:

// What do you know! It's `let x = try!(...)` implemented more verbosely!
try_let!(Ok(x) = ... {
    Err(e) => return e

This also handles more complex types than Some and None:

enum E {
    A(i32, i32, i32, i32, Option<i32>, Result<(), i32>),

// ...

try_let!(A(a, 21, c, 34, Some(e), Err(f)) = ... else return);
// a, c, e, and f are all bound here.


This provides a simple way to avoid the rightward-shift of logic which performs a large number of faillible pattern matches in rust. This allows the main logic flow to continue without increasing the indent level, while handling errors with diverging logic.


a try_let!() invocation expands to the following:

try_let!(Some(x) = ... else return Err("Shoot! There was a problem!"));
// ... becomes ...
let (x,) = match ... {
    Some(x) => (x,),
    _ => return Err("Shoot! There was a problem!"),
try_let!(Ok(x) = ... {
    Err(e) => return e
// ... becomes ...
let (x,) = match ... {
    Ok(x) => (x,),
    Err(e) => return e,

A note on None and empty enum variants

A question which some people will be asking now is how are enum variants like None handled?

try_let!(None = ... else return);
// ... becomes ...
let () = match ... {
    None => (),
    _ => return,

None isn't mistaken for a binding variable by try-let because of the dirty little trick which try-let uses to function: which is that it is powered by rust's style conventions. There is no way for the parser (which is all that the syntax extension has access to) to determine whether a lone identifier in a pattern is an empty enum variant like None or a variable binding like x. This is determined later in the compiler, too late for this extension to use that information.

Instead, the extension checks the first character of the identifier. If it is an ASCII capital, we assume it is a empty enum variant, and otherwise we assume it is a variable binding.