Separating Modules into Different Files

So far, all the examples in this chapter defined multiple modules in one file. When modules get large, you might want to move their definitions to a separate file to make the code easier to navigate.

For example, let’s start from the code in Listing 7-17 and move the front_of_house module to its own file src/front_of_house.rs by changing the crate root file so it contains the code shown in Listing 7-21. In this case, the crate root file is src/lib.rs, but this procedure also works with binary crates whose crate root file is src/main.rs.

Filename: src/lib.rs

mod front_of_house;

pub use crate::front_of_house::hosting;

pub fn eat_at_restaurant() {

Listing 7-21: Declaring the front_of_house module whose body will be in src/front_of_house.rs

And src/front_of_house.rs gets the definitions from the body of the front_of_house module, as shown in Listing 7-22.

Filename: src/front_of_house.rs

# #![allow(unused_variables)]
#fn main() {
pub mod hosting {
    pub fn add_to_waitlist() {}

Listing 7-22: Definitions inside the front_of_house module in src/front_of_house.rs

Using a semicolon after mod front_of_house rather than using a block tells Rust to load the contents of the module from another file with the same name as the module. To continue with our example and extract the hosting module to its own file as well, we change src/front_of_house.rs to contain only the declaration of the hosting module:

Filename: src/front_of_house.rs

pub mod hosting;

Then we create a src/front_of_house directory and a file src/front_of_house/hosting.rs to contain the definitions made in the hosting module:

Filename: src/front_of_house/hosting.rs

pub fn add_to_waitlist() {}

The module tree remains the same, and the function calls in eat_at_restaurant will work without any modification, even though the definitions live in different files. This technique lets you move modules to new files as they grow in size.

Note that the pub use crate::front_of_house::hosting statement in src/lib.rs also hasn’t changed, nor does use have any impact on what files are compiled as part of the crate. The mod keyword declares modules, and Rust looks in a file with the same name as the module for the code that goes into that module.


Rust lets you organize your packages into crates and your crates into modules so you can refer to items defined in one module from another module. You can do this by specifying absolute or relative paths. These paths can be brought into scope with a use statement so you can use a shorter path for multiple uses of the item in that scope. Module code is private by default, but you can make definitions public by adding the pub keyword.

In the next chapter, we’ll look at some collection data structures in the standard library that you can use in your neatly organized code.

© 2010 The Rust Project Developers
Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 or the MIT license, at your option.