Rust Lifetime

1 minute read

Lifetimes are defined using the ' symbol. They ensure that references remain valid for the scope they are used in.

For example, we would like to know that the reference created by this function will live long enough to be used in the calling block:

fn longest_name(name_1: &str, name_2: &str) -> &str {}

Rust automatically assigns lifetimes, but will need help determining which lifetime to apply to the return type:

fn longest_name<'a, 'b>(name_1: &'a str, name_2: &'b str) -> &str {}

We can define lifetimes explicitly - in this case make all references share the same lifetime guarantee:

fn longest_name<'a>(name_1: &'a str, name_2: &'a str) -> &'a str {}

If the input references are not within the same lifetimes of eachother, we can ensure 'b is at least within the same lifetime as 'a by using:

fn longest_name<'a, 'b: 'a>(name_1: &'a str, name_2: &'b str) -> &'a str {}

Static lifetimes

'static is a special lifetime which will last the entirety of the program.

All const values are 'static by default. Variables can also be static.

We may choose to require only 'static outputs to a function:

fn version_info() -> &'static str {}

Lifetimes in structs

Structs which reference memory also require lifetime definitions.

struct ImuData<'a> {
	accel_resolution: f32,
	accel_raw: &'a Vec<u32>,