Deriving Error Enums

The thiserror crate is a popular way to create an error enum like we did on the previous page:

use std::{fs, io};
use std::io::Read;
use thiserror::Error;

#[derive(Debug, Error)]
enum ReadUsernameError {
    #[error("Could not read: {0}")]
    IoError(#[from] io::Error),
    #[error("Found no username in {0}")]

fn read_username(path: &str) -> Result<String, ReadUsernameError> {
    let mut username = String::new();
    fs::File::open(path)?.read_to_string(&mut username)?;
    if username.is_empty() {
        return Err(ReadUsernameError::EmptyUsername(String::from(path)));

fn main() {
    //fs::write("config.dat", "").unwrap();
    match read_username("config.dat") {
        Ok(username) => println!("Username: {username}"),
        Err(err)     => println!("Error: {err}"),

thiserror’s derive macro automatically implements std::error::Error, and optionally Display (if the #[error(...)] attributes are provided) and From (if the #[from] attribute is added). It also works for structs.

It doesn’t affect your public API, which makes it good for libraries.