Crate tutorial [] [src]

The Rustdoc Field Guide

The purpose of this "document" is to describe how a rustdoc-generated documentation site is organized, how to read through it, and some tips for navigating a doc bundle.

For information on how to use rustdoc, check out "The Rustdoc Book" (link TBD). For information about how rustdoc works, check out my post "a whirlwind tour of rustdoc". This post/bundle is mainly about what you can do with a doc bundle that's already been made.

The Page Layout

There are a few elements that appear on every page, regardless of what kind of item the page is about:

The sidebar lists the headers of the page, followed by the sibling items to that item. For crates, this means it lists the other crates documented in the same cargo doc command; for anything else it lists the other items in the same module as the item featured on the page. (For module pages, this means the sidebar lists the items in its parent module, which can be a bit confusing!)

In doc bundles that have included a header image, there will also be a logo at the top of the sidebar, such as the Rust logo in the standard library documentation.

When rustdoc generates a doc bundle, it includes a "search index" of all the types, modules, functions, and other items in the crates it processed. This allows the search box at the top of every page to look through all these items and return anything that matches. In addition to being able to search for items by name, it can also filter by the kind of item or the signature of a function. Press ? for the full syntax and for other keyboard shortcuts. (Like pressing S to focus the search box so you can start typing from wherever!)

In addition to including the rendered documentation comments and the public items of the crate, doc bundles also include the source code of the crate itself! Most items include a [src] link, either on the top-right of the page or on the right side of an item heading, which links directly to the item's declaration. This way, you can inspect the implementation of a library without having to find its repository. It's not a fully-featured source-code browser, but in many occasions it can point you to the right spot.

Similarly, many things on doc pages can be folded up to take less space on the page. These items are indicated with a [-] on their left, which can be clicked to toggle the item. There's a matching [-] link at the top-right of the page, which toggles everything on the page, to fold up everything and get a concise overview of everything on the page. This works really well for structs with a lot of methods, so you can quickly scan the list to find one you need.

Auto-generated elements

Even without doc comments to render, rustdoc still creates pages and headings for all the public items in the crate. Everything below the next paragraph was put in place by rustdoc reading the top "summary line" of each of these items and writing a link to the full page.

At this point, feel free to explore! A lot of elements in a doc bundle are hyperlinked, so click around and see where it takes you!



A submodule of the main crate!



An exported struct to demonstrate field, associated function, and trait implementation docs are shown.



An exported enum to demonstrate how enum variant docs are shown.



An exported trait to demonstrate the difference between provided and required methods, and to show off associated types.