Crate stuff

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A crate for stuffing things into a pointer.

stuff helps you to

  • Stuff arbitrary data into pointers
  • Stuff pointers or arbitrary data into fixed size storage (u64, u128)

in a portable and provenance friendly way.

StuffedPtr is the main type of this crate. You it’s a type whose size depends on the choice of Backend (defaults to usize, u64 and u128 are also possible). It can store a pointer or some other data.

You can choose any arbitrary bitstuffing depending on the StuffingStrategy, an unsafe trait that governs how the other data (or the pointer itself) will be packed into the backend. While this trait is still unsafe, it’s a lot safer than doing everything by hand.

Example: NaN-Boxing

Pointers are hidden in the NaN values of floats. NaN boxing often involves also hiding booleans or null in there, but we stay with floats and pointers (pointers to a HashMap that servers as our “object” type).

See crafting interpreters for more details.

use std::collections::HashMap;

use stuff::{StuffedPtr, StuffingStrategy};

// Create a unit struct for our strategy
struct NanBoxStrategy;

// implementation detail of NaN boxing, a quiet NaN mask
const QNAN: u64 = 0x7ffc000000000000;
// implementation detail of NaN boxing, the sign bit of an f64
const SIGN_BIT: u64 = 0x8000000000000000;

unsafe impl StuffingStrategy<u64> for NanBoxStrategy {
    type Other = f64;

    fn is_other(data: u64) -> bool {
        (data & QNAN) != QNAN

    fn stuff_other(inner: Self::Other) -> u64 {
        unsafe { std::mem::transmute(inner) } // both are 64 bit POD's

    unsafe fn extract_other(data: u64) -> Self::Other {
        std::mem::transmute(data) // both are 64 bit POD's

    fn stuff_ptr(addr: usize) -> u64 {
        // add the QNAN and SIGN_BIT
        SIGN_BIT | QNAN | u64::try_from(addr).unwrap()

    fn extract_ptr(inner: u64) -> usize {
        // keep everything except for QNAN and SIGN_BIT
        (inner & !(SIGN_BIT | QNAN)).try_into().unwrap()

// a very, very crude representation of an object
type Object = HashMap<String, u32>;

// our value type
type Value = StuffedPtr<Object, NanBoxStrategy, u64>;

let float: Value = StuffedPtr::new_other(123.5);
assert_eq!(float.copy_other(), Some(123.5));

let object: Object = HashMap::from([("a".to_owned(), 457)]);
let boxed = Box::new(object);
let ptr: Value = StuffedPtr::new_ptr(Box::into_raw(boxed));

let object = unsafe { &*ptr.get_ptr().unwrap() };
assert_eq!(object.get("a"), Some(&457));

drop(unsafe { Box::from_raw(ptr.get_ptr().unwrap()) });

// be careful, `ptr` is a dangling pointer now!


A union of a pointer or some other data, bitpacked into a value with the size depending on B. It defaults to usize, meaning pointer sized, but u64 and u128 are also provided by this crate. You can also provide your own Backend implementation


A backend where the stuffed pointer is stored. Must be bigger or equal to the pointer size.

A trait that describes how to stuff others and pointers into the pointer sized object.