Generic Data Types

You can use generics to abstract over the concrete field type:

#[derive(Debug)]
struct Point<T> {
    x: T,
    y: T,
}

impl<T> Point<T> {
    fn coords(&self) -> (&T, &T) {
        (&self.x, &self.y)
    }

    // fn set_x(&mut self, x: T)
}

fn main() {
    let integer = Point { x: 5, y: 10 };
    let float = Point { x: 1.0, y: 4.0 };
    println!("{integer:?} and {float:?}");
    println!("coords: {:?}", integer.coords());
}
This slide should take about 10 minutes.
  • Q: Why T is specified twice in impl<T> Point<T> {}? Isn’t that redundant?

    • This is because it is a generic implementation section for generic type. They are independently generic.
    • It means these methods are defined for any T.
    • It is possible to write impl Point<u32> { .. }.
      • Point is still generic and you can use Point<f64>, but methods in this block will only be available for Point<u32>.
  • Try declaring a new variable let p = Point { x: 5, y: 10.0 };. Update the code to allow points that have elements of different types, by using two type variables, e.g., T and U.