Skip to main content

19.4 - Advanced Functions and Closures

Function Pointers

In chapter 13 we saw you could pass a closure to a function, but we can also pass a function to a function!

fn add_one(x: i32) -> i32 {
x + 1

// Note that this takes a function pointer as
// a parameter, and not a closure.
fn do_twice(f: fn(i32) -> i32, arg: i32) -> i32 {
f(arg) + f(arg)

fn main() {
let answer = do_twice(add_one, 5);

println!("The answer is: {}", answer);

The first parameter to do_twice is called a function pointer. You may recall from chapter 13 that in order to pass a closure as a parameter, we declared a generic function and used a trait bound on the generic type to FnOnce, FnMut, or Fn. The difference between a closure and a function pointer is the function pointer is a named concrete type instead of a generic trait bound. (Technically any given closure has a concrete type as well, generated at compile time, but these are unnameable types.)

Because a function is like a closure that cannot capture any variables, function pointers implement all three generic traits (FnOnce, FnMut, and Fn) so you can always pass a function pointer to a function that expects a trait. For this reason, it's generally more flexible to write a function that takes a closure. You'll likely have to use a function pointer instead If you're interacting with C code.

Passing Functions In Place of a Closure

Here's an example of using a function in place of a closure:

let list_of_numbers = vec![1, 2, 3];
let list_of_strings: Vec<String> =
list_of_numbers.iter().map(|i| i.to_string()).collect();

// This is equivalent to the above:
let list_of_strings2: Vec<String> =

Each enum variant we define becomes an initializer function, so we can use them as function pointers (as we also could any constructor):

enum Status {

let list_of_statuses: Vec<Status> = (0u32..20).map(Status::Value).collect();

Returning Closures

Since a closure is defined using a trait, if you want to return one from a function you'll have to use a trait object:

fn returns_closure() -> Box<dyn Fn(i32) -> i32> {
Box::new(|x| x + 1)