#map #graph #index #id #vec


Simplify Graphs in Rust. Introduces IdVec, which automatically creates Ids for each new object, reusing deleted Ids.

7 releases

new 0.5.6 Aug 5, 2018
0.5.5 Jul 29, 2018

#35 in Memory management

Download history 35/week @ 2018-07-22 51/week @ 2018-07-29 55/week @ 2018-08-05

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Crate Documentation


Inserting elements into this Vec yields a persistent, type-safe Index to that new element.


let mut words = IdVec::new();

let id_hello: Id<&str> = words.insert("hello");
let id_world = words.insert("world");

println!("{:?} -> {:?}", id_hello, words.get(id_hello));

For more examples, see lib.rs.

You can think of the IdVec as a vector that reuses slots. It inserts new elements into places where old elements were removed, instead of shifting all the remaining elements by one. This allows using indices to refer to elements, which remain valid even after removing other elements from the vector.

The goal of this specific library is being very minimal, both in resource usage and API complexity. As a consequence, it does not have a runtime system to detect the incorrect use of deleted ids. The user must take care to not use ids that have been deleted.

Including this library

To add this crate to your project, simply add this line to your Cargo.toml dependencies:

id-vec = "*"


In Rust, Graphs can be quite a difficult architecture, because a straightforward &'a T would prevent any mutation of the graph. Using a Ref<Cell<T>> is considered un-idiomatic because it circumvents Rusts safety mechanisms.

One way to solve this problem is to use indices, and store all nodes of a graph in a vector. Each node would store the indices of their connected nodes, instead of a direct reference to them. This however requires all operations on Nodes to access the vector, which could feel quite unergonomic. Nevertheless, this approach appears the most idiomatic and safe to me.

This library aims to simplify the index-based approach by introducing ids, which are essentially type-safe indices. The safety is achieved by allowing only Id<T>s and not any unsigned number as index for a vector.

This library provides a container built specifically for that use case of connected graph nodes, without using any unsafe rust

Why not use Slab?

  • This library is a different implementation, and thus may have better runtime performance for special use cases
  • Indexing is done using a type-safe Id<T> instead of a plain, less safe usize. (Also, using a usize falsely suggests some sort of linear ordering, like in a regular Vec)
  • DoubleEndedIterators, enabling .iter().rev()
  • map.pack(...), which reorders the map to remove all unused slots, reducing memory overhead after a series of deletions


This project has two core structs: the map itself, and the id. The id is just a newtype wrapping and index, but it has a type parameter to improve type safety for indices. The map internally is a vector, but it reuses deleted slots. It does so by storing the indices of deleted elements in a hash set, which is memory-efficient for largely filled maps, and fast for insertion of new elements, but may be not as fast as BitVec for indexing.

Other interesting crates

  • Slab:

    Identical purpose, but different implementation and a different set of features.

  • Froggy: Component-Graph-System

    Also contains a similar datastructure, utilizing Ids, but does more runtime checks using Rc<T> and Weak<T>, which I wanted to avoid.

MIT license
  • No runtime deps

Reverse deps