created_at2022-03-23 21:33:26.69926
updated_at2024-03-15 15:56:34.792098
descriptionSet cfg options according to probing for Rust compiler, language, and library features.
Derick Eddington (DerickEddington)




A build-script helper to set cfg options according to probing which features of your choice are enabled in the Rust compiler, language, and library, without reference to versions of Rust.

The primary purpose is to detect when previously-unstable features become stabilized, based on feature presence and not on Rust version. This helps design conditionally-compiled code that can adjust whenever a feature becomes stable in whichever unknown future version of Rust.

The cfg options that are set are key-value forms like: rust_lib_feature = "iter_zip", rust_lang_feature = "never_type", etc.

The probing does not use #![feature(...)] and so the options that are set represent features that are stable, consistently with either nightly or stable compilers. It is still possible to conditionally enable unstable features, with the rust_comp_feature = "unstable_features" option that can be detected and set when a nightly (or dev) compiler is used.


  • You must be careful about designing code around unstable features that could change before they are stabilized.

  • Currently, this crate only supports a small subset of features (of both unstable and stable). You may request support for additional features, by opening an issue at:


  • Your build script, usually, can be as simple as:

    fn main() {
        let of_interest = ["iter_zip", /* Or: "unstable_features", etc ... */];
  • To work with stable Rust versions, you implemented a workaround for the absence of an unstable feature that you wish you could use, and you do not know in which future version it will become stabilized (if ever), but you are confident that the API of this feature will not change before stabilizing. So, with the help of this crate, you design conditional compilation that, if the feature becomes stable, marks your workaround as deprecated and uses the feature instead.

    If your workaround was to have an into_ok method on Result<T, Infallible>, such detection could be done like:

    #[cfg_attr(rust_lib_feature = "unwrap_infallible", deprecated)]
    trait IntoOk { /* ... */ }
    #[cfg(not(rust_lib_feature = "unwrap_infallible"))]
    impl<T> IntoOk for Result<T, Infallible> { /* ... */ }
  • To enable unstable features only when using a nightly (or dev) compiler:

    #![cfg_attr(rust_comp_feature = "unstable_features", feature(step_trait))]
    #[cfg(rust_comp_feature = "unstable_features")]
    fn maybe_use_step_trait() { /* ... */ }

    This avoids needing some Cargo package feature (e.g. "unstable") for this, which some projects might prefer.

    Or, enabling unstable features can be done only when the feature is not yet stabilized, and not done if/when a feature becomes stable, like:

    #![cfg_attr(not(rust_lib_feature = "step_trait"), feature(step_trait))]
    fn assume_step_trait_is_available() { /* ... */ }
  • To have benchmarks (which (as of 2022-10-23) require a nightly compiler) that do not interfere with using a stable compiler, without needing some extra package feature. This enables using Cargo options like --all-targets (which includes --benches) with a stable compiler without error, which can be especially helpful with tools which use that. This is done, at the top of some benches/, like:

    #![cfg(rust_comp_feature = "unstable_features")]
    /* ... */

    and thus benches/ targets are effectively empty with a stable compiler but are non-empty with nightly, automatically without needing to remember to give --features.

    Further, targets can be made to adjust if a future version of Rust stabilizes a feature, e.g. the benchmarking test feature, and if a future version of this crate adds support for that feature; and targets can still be made to work while the feature is unstable and while this crate does not have support, like:

    // If provided by either stable or unstable feature, have this target
    // be non-empty.
        // Only set/true when the currently-used version of the
        // cfg_rust_features crate supports it and it is stable in the
        // currently-used version of Rust.
        rust_lib_feature = "test",
        // Only set/true when a nightly (or dev) compiler is being used.
        rust_comp_feature = "unstable_features"
    // Else, a stable compiler version without the feature is being used,
    // so have this target be empty to cause all the below items to be
    // ignored as if they do not exist.
        // If the feature is still unstable
        not(rust_lib_feature = "test"),
        // then it needs to be specially enabled.
    // Else if the feature is stable, #![feature(test)] is not needed.
    // Valid whenever the feature is enabled, whether stable or unstable.
    extern crate test;
    /* ... */

    and thus this code, at the top of the file at least, should not need to be changed both when the feature is unstable and when it later becomes stable (unless the feature itself changes while unstable, of course); and, also, this code will continue to be valid with older versions of Rust where the feature is considered unstable even after a newer version stabilizes it.

Stability Policy

The API follows the normal Cargo SemVer policy, with the qualification that it is allowed for the error behavior of future versions having the same primary number to change somewhat:

  • Future versions may change to support additional feature names and so no longer error for those. But once a feature name is supported it will not be removed and so will never error for that and future versions.

  • Future versions may change to possibly return different Error types behind dyn Error when creating instances of CfgRustFeatures, due to internal changes in how the probing is done and in which dependencies are used. But the use of the Box<dyn Error> type will remain stable.

Minimum Supported Rust Version

Rust 1.0.0 will always be supported, so this crate can be used by other crates which support that old version.


The source-code has doc comments, which are rendered as the API documentation.

View online at:

Or, you can generate them yourself and view locally by doing:

cargo doc --open
Commit count: 41

cargo fmt