🌻 📖 FFI::Platypus::Lang::Rust


FFI::Platypus::Lang::Rust - Documentation and tools for using Platypus with the Rust programming language



 #![crate_type = "dylib"]
 // compile with: rustc add.rs
 pub extern "C" fn add(a:i32, b:i32) -> i32 {


 use FFI::Platypus 1.00;
 my $ffi = FFI::Platypus->new( api => 1, lang => 'Rust' );
 $ffi->attach( add => ['i32', 'i32'] => 'i32' );
 print add(1,2), "\n";  # prints 3


This module provides native Rust types for FFI::Platypus in order to reduce cognitive load and concentrate on Rust and forget about C types. This document also documents issues and caveats that I have discovered in my attempts to work with Rust and FFI.

This module is somewhat experimental. It is also available for adoption for anyone either sufficiently knowledgeable about Rust or eager enough to learn enough about Rust. If you are interested, please send me a pull request or two on the project's GitHub.

Note that in addition to using pre-compiled Rust libraries, you can bundle Rust code with your Perl distribution using FFI::Build and FFI::Build::File::Cargo.

name mangling

Rust names are "mangled" to handle features such as modules and the fact that some characters in Rust names are illegal machine code symbol names. For now that means that you have to tell Rust not to mangle the names of functions that you are going to call from Perl. You can accomplish that like this:

 pub extern "C" fn foo() {

You do not need to add this decoration to functions that you do not directly call from Perl. For example:

 fn bar() {
 pub extern "C" fn foo() {


Be careful about code that might panic!. A panic! across an FFI boundary is undefined behavior. You will want to catch the panic with a catch_unwind and map to an appropriate result.

 use std::panic::catch_unwind;
 pub extern fn oopsie() -> u32 {
     let result = catch_unwind(|| {
     match result {
         OK(_) => 0,
         Err(_) -> 1,


You can map a Rust struct to a Perl object by creating a C OO layer. I suggest using the c_void type aliased to an appropriate name so that the struct can remain private to the Rust code.

For example, given a Foo struct:

 struct Foo {
 impl Foo {
     fn new() -> Foo { ... }
     fn method1(&self) { ... }

You can write a thin C layer:

 type CFoo = c_void;
 pub extern "C" fn foo_new(_class *const i8) -> *mut CFoo {
     Box::into_raw(Box::new(Foo::new())) as *mut CFoo
 pub extern "C" fn foo_method1(f: *mut CFoo) {
     let f = unsafe { &*(f as *mut Foo) };
 pub extern "C" fn foo_DESTROY(f: *mut CFoo) {
     unsafe { drop(Box::from_raw(f as *mut Foo)) };

Which can be called easily from Perl:

 package Foo {
     use FFI::Platypus 1.00;
     my $ffi = FFI::Platypus->new( api => 1, lang => 'Rust' );
     $ffi->bundle; # see FFI::Build::File::Cargo for how to bundle
                   # your rust code...
     $ffi->type( 'object(Foo)' => 'CFoo' );
     $ffi->mangler(sub {
         my $symbol = shift;
     $ffi->attach( new     => [] => 'CFoo' );
     $ffi->attach( method1 => ['CFoo'] );
     $ffi->attach( DESTROY => ['CFoo'] );
 my $foo = Foo->new;
 # $foo->DESTROY implicitly called when it falls out of scope

returning strings

Passing in strings is not too hard, you can convert a Rust CString into a Rust String. Return a string is a little tricky because of the ownership model. Depending on how your API works there are probably lot of approaches you might want to take. One approach would be to use thread local storage to store a CString which you return. It wastes a little memory because once the string is copied into Perl space it isn't used again, but at least it doesn't leak memory since it will be freed on the next call to your function. Best of all it doesn't require an unsafe block.

 pub extern "C" fn return_string() -> *const i8 {
     thread_local! {
         static KEEP: RefCell<Option<CString>> = RefCell::new(None);
     let my_string = String::from("foo");
     let c_string = CString::new(my_string).unwrap();
     let ptr = c_string.as_ptr();
     KEEP.with(|k| {
         *k.borrow_mut() = Some(c_string);

From Perl:

 use FFI::Platypus 1.00;
 my $ffi = FFI::Platypus->new( api => 1, lang => 'Rust' );
 $ffi->attach( return_string => [] => 'string' );


Calling back into Perl from Rust is easy so long as you have the correct types defined. Consider a Rust function that takes a C function pointer:

 use std::ffi::CString;
 type PerlLog = extern fn(line: *const i8);
 pub extern "C" fn rust_log(logf: PerlLog) {
     let lines: [&str; 3] = [
         "Hello from rust!",
         "Something else.",
         "The last log line",
     for line in lines.iter() {
         // convert string slice to a C style NULL terminated string
         let line = CString::new(*line).unwrap();

This can be called with a closure from Perl:

 use FFI::Platypus 1.00;
 my $ffi = FFI::Platypus->new( api => 1, lang => 'Rust' );
 $ffi->type( '(string)->void' => 'PerlLog' );
 $ffi->attach( rust_log => ['PerlLog'] );
 my $perl_log = $ffi->closure(sub {
     my $message = shift;
     print "log> $message\n";

Which outputs:

 $ perl callback.pl
 log> Hello from rust!
 log> Something else.
 log> The last log line


Generally you will not use this class directly, instead interacting with the FFI::Platypus instance. However, the public methods used by Platypus are documented here.


 my $hashref = FFI::Platypus::Lang::Rust->native_type_map;

This returns a hash reference containing the native aliases for the Rust programming languages. That is the keys are native Rust types and the values are libffi native types.


See the above "SYNOPSIS" or the examples directory that came with this distribution. This distribution comes with a whole module example of a full object-oriented Rust/Perl extension including Makefile.PL Rust crate, Perl library and tests. It lives in the examples/Person directory, or you can browse it on the web here:



If something does not work as advertised, or the way that you think it should, or if you have a feature request, please open an issue on this project's GitHub issue tracker:



If you have implemented a new feature or fixed a bug then you may make a pull reequest on this project's GitHub repository:


Caution: if you do this too frequently I may nominate you as the new maintainer. Extreme caution: if you like that sort of thing.

This project's GitHub issue tracker listed above is not Write-Only. If you want to contribute then feel free to browse through the existing issues and see if there is something you feel you might be good at and take a whack at the problem. I frequently open issues myself that I hope will be accomplished by someone in the future but do not have time to immediately implement myself.

Another good area to help out in is documentation. I try to make sure that there is good document coverage, that is there should be documentation describing all the public features and warnings about common pitfalls, but an outsider's or alternate view point on such things would be welcome; if you see something confusing or lacks sufficient detail I encourage documentation only pull requests to improve things.



The Core Platypus documentation.


Bundle Rust code with your FFI / Perl extension.


Graham Ollis <plicease@cpan.org>


This software is copyright (c) 2015 by Graham Ollis.

This is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as the Perl 5 programming language system itself.