Using Unsafe for Fun and Profit
Given Rust's popularity and position as a systems programming language, you'll probably reach a point where you want to integrate a Rust module into some existing application. This guide was created to fill the current gap in knowledge when it comes to doing more in-depth FFI tasks than simply calling one or two functions from a C library.
This guide is written from the perspective of someone implementing a simple REST client. The client lets you craft custom HTTP messages and send them to some server, allowing you to inspect the response. It is composed of a Qt GUI which calls out to a Rust library for all of the business logic.
We'll be using
cmake as the host build system, deferring to
manage and compile the Rust components. The guide was originally written on a
linux machine, but there is no reason why it shouldn't work on Windows or Mac,
possibly with a couple small platform-specific tweaks (filenames, etc.).
TODO: Insert final screenshot here
Useful Links and References
Here are a couple links and resources which you may find useful along the way.
- Rendered Guide
- The GitHub Repo
- Associated Docker Image
- Beginner's Guide to Linkers
- Foreign Function Interfaces for Fun & Industry
- The Rust FFI Omnibus
- "Unsafe Rust" chapter from The Book
- Calling Rust from C and Java
The end objectives of this guide are:
cargointo a wider build system
- Call Rust functions from C++ (or any other language)
- Passing strings, structs, and arrays between Rust and C++
- Robust error handling and exception safety
- Creating a C interface for a Rust library
- Multithreading and asynchronous programming (because we'll need to wait for the server's response without blocking the UI)
- Create flexible abstractions which encapsulate common patterns used when writing foreign function interfaces.
The ffi-helpers crate was written in parallel with this guide. It takes advantage of the patterns and abstractions we'll come up with and allows you to reuse them for your own application.