Permalink
Switch branches/tags
Nothing to show
Find file Copy path
104 lines (69 sloc) 2.68 KB

Builder

Description

Construct an object with calls to a builder helper.

Example

struct Foo {
    // Lots of complicated fields.
}

struct FooBuilder {
    // Probably lots of optional fields.
    ...
}

impl FooBuilder {
    fn new(...) -> FooBuilder {
        // Set the minimally required fields of Foo.
    }

    fn named(mut self, name: &str) -> FooBuilder {
        // Set the name on the builder itself, and return the builder by value.
    }

    // More methods that take `mut self` and return `FooBuilder` setting up
    // various aspects of a Foo.
    ...

    // If we can get away with not consuming the Builder here, that is an
    // advantage. It means we can use the builder as a template for constructing
    // many Foos.
    fn finish(&self) -> Foo {
        // Create a Foo from the FooBuilder, applying all settings in FooBuilder to Foo.
    }
}

fn main() {
    let f = FooBuilder::new().named("Bar").with_attribute(...).finish();
}

Motivation

Useful when you would otherwise require many different constructors or where construction has side effects.

Advantages

Separates methods for building from other methods.

Prevents proliferation of constructors

Can be used for one-liner initialisation as well as more complex construction.

Disadvantages

More complex than creating a struct object directly, or a simple constructor function.

Discussion

This pattern is seen more frequently in Rust (and for simpler objects) than in many other languages because Rust lacks overloading. Since you can only have a single method with a given name, having multiple constructors is less nice in Rust than in C++, Java, or others.

This pattern is often used where the builder object is useful in its own right, rather than being just a builder. For example, see std::process::Command is a builder for Child (a process). In these cases, the T and TBuilder pattern of naming is not used.

The example takes and returns the builder by value. It is often more ergonomic (and more efficient) to take and return the builder as a mutable reference. The borrow checker makes this work naturally. This approach has the advantage that one can write code like

let mut fb = FooBuilder::new();
fb.a();
fb.b();
let f = fb.finish();

as well as the FooBuilder::new().a().b().finish() style.

See also

Description in the style guide

Constructor pattern for when construction is simpler.

Builder pattern (wikipedia)