Lifetime Reference

Places in Rust where you use any lifetime syntax will fall into two categories:

Concept Category Usage
fn creation fn example_function<'a>()
struct creation struct Example<'a>
enum creation enum Test<'a>
impl creation impl<'a> Example<'a>
struct reference some_field: Example<'a>
enum reference some_field: Test<'a>
& reference next_field: &'a i32
&mut reference next_field: &'a mut i32
Box reference last_field: Box<i32 + 'a>

What does ‘Category’ mean?

When I say ‘creation’ I mean this is where the lifetime is first defined and named.

When I say ‘reference’ I mean this is where we are being explicit about the lifetime of some reference type, using a lifetime that already exists.

This is an important distinction that took me a while to get.

Weird things

  1. Yes, we see you Box, we’re ignoring you.

  2. Notice that ‘struct’ and ‘enum’ are in both categories. That’s because they use pretty much the same syntax for creation as they do for reference; it’s helpful to acknowledge that.


I go into more detail about lifetimes here.

Charles, etc