Async fn in trait... not

This article is part of the Updating fasterthanli.me for 2022 series.

Async fn in trait... not

I was planning on showing the in-progress async_fn_in_trait feature in the context of my website, but it turns out, I can't!

My website uses two databases: one local SQLite database for content, and a shared Postgres database for user credentials, preferences etc. Migrations are run on startup, and each migration implements one of the following traits:

Rust code
#[async_trait::async_trait]
pub trait MigrationSqlite {
    fn tag(&self) -> &'static str;
    async fn up(&self, db: &mut Transaction<Sqlite>) -> Result<()>;
}

#[async_trait::async_trait]
pub trait MigrationPostgres {
    fn tag(&self) -> &'static str;
    async fn up(&self, db: &mut Transaction<Postgres>) -> Result<()>;
}

...which can have async functions thanks to the async-trait crate.

Enabling the unstable feature works for the trait definition:

Rust code
#![allow(incomplete_features)]
#![feature(async_fn_in_trait)]

pub trait MigrationPostgres {
    fn tag(&self) -> &'static str;
    async fn up(&self, db: &mut Transaction<Postgres>) -> Result<()>;
}

...but fails later, because I'm making a Vec of migrations, to pass to:

Rust code
pub async fn migrate_all_postgres(
    db: &PgPool,
    wanted_list: Vec<Box<dyn MigrationPostgres>>,
) -> Result<()> {
    // (cut)
}

...and traits with async fns (the real thing) aren't trait-object-safe for now:

Shell session
$ cargo check
    Checking futile-db v0.1.0 (/home/amos/bearcove/futile/crates/futile-db)
    (cut)
error[E0038]: the trait `MigrationPostgres` cannot be made into an object
   --> crates/futile-db/src/lib.rs:64:47
    |
64  | async fn mk_postgres_pool(migrations: Vec<Box<dyn MigrationPostgres>>) -> Result<sqlx::PgPool> {
    |                                               ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ `MigrationPostgres` cannot be made into an object
    |
note: for a trait to be "object safe" it needs to allow building a vtable to allow the call to be resolvable dynamically; for more information visit <https://doc.rust-lang.org/reference/items/traits.html#object-safety>
   --> crates/futile-db/src/migrations/mod.rs:135:14
    |
133 | pub trait MigrationPostgres {
    |           ----------------- this trait cannot be made into an object...
134 |     fn tag(&self) -> &'static str;
135 |     async fn up(&self, db: &mut Transaction<Postgres>) -> Result<()>;
    |              ^^ ...because method `up` references an `impl Trait` type in its return type
    = help: consider moving `up` to another trait

error[E0038]: the trait `MigrationPostgres` cannot be made into an object
   --> crates/futile-db/src/migrations/mod.rs:71:26
    |
71  |     wanted_list: Vec<Box<dyn MigrationPostgres>>,
    |                          ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ `MigrationPostgres` cannot be made into an object
    |
note: for a trait to be "object safe" it needs to allow building a vtable to allow the call to be resolvable dynamically; for more information visit <https://doc.rust-lang.org/reference/items/traits.html#object-safety>
   --> crates/futile-db/src/migrations/mod.rs:135:14
    |
133 | pub trait MigrationPostgres {
    |           ----------------- this trait cannot be made into an object...
134 |     fn tag(&self) -> &'static str;
135 |     async fn up(&self, db: &mut Transaction<Postgres>) -> Result<()>;
    |              ^^ ...because method `up` references an `impl Trait` type in its return type
    = help: consider moving `up` to another trait

(cut)

There is a very good reason for that limitation, and I hear, to lift it, something like dyn* (which is very hard to search for) is needed.

So, instead, I'll show them what I did for hring, to get an "owned" version of the AsyncRead / AsyncWrite traits, that is io-uring-friendly:

Rust code
pub trait ReadOwned {
    async fn read<B: IoBufMut>(&self, buf: B) -> BufResult<usize, B>;
}

pub trait WriteOwned {
    async fn write<B: IoBuf>(&self, buf: B) -> BufResult<usize, B>;

    async fn writev<B: IoBuf>(&self, list: Vec<B>) -> BufResult<usize, Vec<B>> {
        let mut out_list = Vec::with_capacity(list.len());
        let mut list = list.into_iter();
        let mut total = 0;

        while let Some(buf) = list.next() {
            let (res, buf) = self.write(buf).await;
            out_list.push(buf);
            match res {
                Ok(n) => total += n,
                Err(e) => {
                    out_list.extend(list);
                    return (Err(e), out_list);
                }
            }
        }

        (Ok(total), out_list)
    }

    async fn write_all<B: IoBuf>(&self, mut buf: B) -> BufResult<(), B> {
        let mut written = 0;
        let len = buf.bytes_init();
        while written < len {
            let (res, slice) = self.write(buf.slice(written..len)).await;
            buf = slice.into_inner();
            let n = match res {
                Ok(n) => n,
                Err(e) => return (Err(e), buf),
            };
            written += n;
        }
        (Ok(()), buf)
    }
}

pub trait ReadWriteOwned: ReadOwned + WriteOwned {}
impl<T> ReadWriteOwned for T where T: ReadOwned + WriteOwned {}

This all works flawlessly. Here's the implementation for tokio-uring's TcpStream type:

Rust code
impl ReadOwned for TcpStream {
    async fn read<B: IoBufMut>(&self, buf: B) -> BufResult<usize, B> {
        TcpStream::read(self, buf).await
    }
}

impl WriteOwned for TcpStream {
    async fn write<B: IoBuf>(&self, buf: B) -> BufResult<usize, B> {
        TcpStream::write(self, buf).await
    }

    async fn writev<B: IoBuf>(&self, list: Vec<B>) -> BufResult<usize, Vec<B>> {
        TcpStream::writev(self, list).await
    }
}

(It's trivial, since the trait is closely modelled after tokio-uring's own types).

Object trait safety is still an issue here, but we can work around it by making most functions take an &impl ReadOwned instead of a &dyn ReadOwned, which makes the function generic (which means it'll be monomorphized, which in turns means the binary will be larger, but there won't be dynamic dispatch at all):

Rust code
/// Returns `None` on EOF, error if partially parsed message.
pub(crate) async fn read_and_parse<Parser, Output>(
    parser: Parser,
    //        👇
    stream: &impl ReadOwned,
    mut buf: RollMut,
    max_len: usize,
) -> eyre::Result<Option<(RollMut, Output)>>
where
    Parser: Fn(Roll) -> IResult<Roll, Output>,
{
    // cut
}

The rest of the hring API is carefully designed to work around that limitation for now, which is... a bit of a balancing act, but it works!

This article is part 3 of the Updating fasterthanli.me for 2022 series.

Read the next part

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