wayland-client 0.20.1

Bindings to the standard C implementation of the wayland protocol, client side.

Client-side Wayland connector


This crate provides the interfaces and machinery to safely create client applications for the wayland protocol. It is a rust wrapper around the libwayland-client.so C library.

The wayland protocol revolves around the creation of various objects and the exchange of messages associated to these objects. The initial object is always the Display, that you get at initialization of the connection, exposed by this crate as Display::connect_to_env().

Protocol and messages handling model

The protocol being bi-directional, you can send and receive messages. Sending messages is done via methods of Proxy<_> objects, receiving and handling them is done by providing implementations.


Wayland protocol objects are represented in this crate by Proxy<I> objects, where I is a type representing the interface of the considered object. And object's interface (think "class" in an object-oriented context) defines which messages it can send and receive.

These proxies are used to send messages to the server (in the wayland context, these are called "requests"). To do so, you need to import the appropriate extension trait adding these methods. For example, to use a Proxy<WlSurface>, you need to import protocol::wl_surface::RequestsTrait from this crate. It is also possible to directly use the Proxy::<I>::send(..) method, but this should only be done carefully: using it improperly can mess the protocol state and cause protocol errors, which are fatal to the connection (the server will kill you).

There is not a 1 to 1 mapping between Proxy<I> instances and protocol objects. Rather, you can think of Proxy<I> as an Rc-like handle to a wayland object. Multiple instances of it can exist referring to the same protocol object.

Similarly, the lifetimes of the protocol objects and the Proxy<I> are not tighly tied. As protocol objects are created and destroyed by protocol messages, it can happen that an object gets destroyed while one or more Proxy<I> still refers to it. In such case, these proxies will be disabled and their alive() method will start to return false. Trying to send messages with them will also fail.


To receive and process messages from the server to you (in wayland context they are called "events"), you need to provide an Implementation for each wayland object created in the protocol session. Whenever a new protocol object is created, you will receive a NewProxy<I> object. Providing an implementation via its implement() method will turn it into a regular Proxy<I> object.

All objects must be implemented, even if it is an implementation doing nothing. Failure to do so (by dropping the NewProxy<I> for example) can cause future fatal errors if the server tries to send an event to this object.

An implementation is just a struct implementing the Implementation<Proxy<I>, I::Event> trait, where I is the interface of the considered object:

// Example implementation for the wl_surface interface
use wayland_client::Proxy;
use wayland_client::protocol::wl_surface;
use wayland_client::commons::Implementation;

struct MyImpl {
   // ...

impl Implementation<Proxy<wl_surface::WlSurface>, wl_surface::Event> for MyImpl {
    fn receive(&mut self, msg: wl_surface::Event, proxy: Proxy<wl_surface::WlSurface>) {
        // process the message...
# fn main() {}

The trait is also automatically implemented for FnMut(I::Event, Proxy<I>) closures, so you can use them for simplicity if a full struct would be too cumbersome.

Event Queues

The wayland client machinnery provides the possibility to have one or more event queues handling the processing of received messages. All wayland objects are associated to an event queue, which controls when its events are dispatched.

Events received from the server are stored in an internal buffer, and processed (by calling the appropriate implementations) when the associated event queue is dispatched.

A default event queue is created at the same time as the initial Display, and by default whenever a wayland object is created, it inherits the queue of its parent (the object that sent or receive the message that created the new object). It means that if you only plan to use the default event queue, you don't need to worry about assigning objects to their queues.

See the documentation of EventQueue for details about dispatching and integrating the event queue into the event loop of your application. See the Proxy::make_wrapper() method for details about assigning objects to event queues.

Dynamic linking with libwayland-client.so

If you need to gracefully handle the case of a system on which wayland is not installed (by fallbacking to X11 for example), you can do so by activating the dlopen cargo feature.

When this is done, the library will be loaded a runtime rather than directly linked. And trying to create a Display on a system that does not have this library will return a NoWaylandLib error.

Auxiliary libraries

Two auxiliary libraries are also available behind cargo features:

  • the cursor feature will try to load libwayland-cursor.so, a library helping with loading system themed cursor textures, to integrate your app in the system theme.
  • the egl feature will try to load libwayland-egl.so, a library allowing the creation of OpenGL surface from wayland surfaces.

Both of them will also be loaded at runtime if the dlopen feature was provided. See their respective submodules for details about their use.