created_at2019-05-22 11:56:36.4004
updated_at2024-06-01 14:53:05.911129
descriptionA framework and a DSL for building finite state machines in Rust
Yevhenii Babichenko (eugene-babichenko)



A framework and a DSL for building finite state machines in Rust

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The rust-fsm crate provides a simple and universal framework for building state machines in Rust with minimum effort.

The essential part of this crate is the StateMachineImpl trait. This trait allows a developer to provide a strict state machine definition, e.g. specify its:

  • An input alphabet - a set of entities that the state machine takes as inputs and performs state transitions based on them.
  • Possible states - a set of states this machine could be in.
  • An output alphabet - a set of entities that the state machine may output as results of its work.
  • A transition function - a function that changes the state of the state machine based on its current state and the provided input.
  • An output function - a function that outputs something from the output alphabet based on the current state and the provided inputs.
  • The initial state of the machine.

Note that on the implementation level such abstraction allows build any type of state machines:

  • A classical state machine by providing only an input alphabet, a set of states and a transition function.
  • A Mealy machine by providing all entities listed above.
  • A Moore machine by providing an output function that do not depend on the provided inputs.

Feature flags


  • std - implement features that require the std environment. See below.
  • dsl - re-export rust-fsm-dsl from rust-fsm. Recommended to leave this on for the best development experience.


  • diagram - generate Mermaid state diagrams in the doc strings. See below.

Usage in no_std environments

This library has the feature named std which is enabled by default. You may want to import this library as rust-fsm = { version = "0.7", default-features = false, features = ["dsl"] } to use it in a no_std environment. This only affects error types (the Error trait is only available in std).

The DSL implementation re-export is gated by the feature named dsl which is also enabled by default.


Initially this library was designed to build an easy to use DSL for defining state machines on top of it. Using the DSL will require to connect an additional crate rust-fsm-dsl (this is due to limitation of the procedural macros system).

Using the DSL for defining state machines

The DSL is parsed by the state_machine macro. Here is a little example.

use rust_fsm::*;

state_machine! {
    /// A Circuit Breaker state machine.

    Closed(Unsuccessful) => Open [SetupTimer],
    Open(TimerTriggered) => HalfOpen,
    HalfOpen => {
        Successful => Closed,
        Unsuccessful => Open [SetupTimer]

This code sample:

  • Defines a state machine called circuit_breaker;
  • Derives the Debug trait for it. All attributes you use here (like #[repr(C)]) will be applied to all types generated by this macro. If you want to apply attributes or a docstring to the mod generated by this macro, just put it before the macro invocation.
  • Sets the initial state of this state machine to Closed;
  • Defines state transitions. For example: on receiving the Successful input when in the HalfOpen state, the machine must move to the Closed state;
  • Defines outputs. For example: on receiving Unsuccessful in the Closed state, the machine must output SetupTimer.

This state machine can be used as follows:

// Initialize the state machine. The state is `Closed` now.
let mut machine = circuit_breaker::StateMachine::new();
// Consume the `Successful` input. No state transition is performed.
let _ = machine.consume(&circuit_breaker::Input::Successful);
// Consume the `Unsuccesful` input. The machine is moved to the `Open`
// state. The output is `SetupTimer`.
let output = machine.consume(&circuit_breaker::Input::Unsuccessful).unwrap();
// Check the output
if let Some(circuit_breaker::Output::SetupTimer) = output {
    // Set up the timer...
// Check the state
if let circuit_breaker::State::Open = machine.state() {
    // Do something...

The following entities are generated:

  • An empty structure circuit_breaker::Impl that implements the StateMachineImpl trait.
  • Enums circuit_breaker::State, circuit_breaker::Input and circuit_breaker::Output that represent the state, the input alphabet and the output alphabet respectively.
  • Type alias circuit_breaker::StateMachine that expands to StateMachine<circuit_breaker::Impl>.

Note that if there is no outputs in the specification, the output alphabet is an empty enum and due to technical limitations of many Rust attributes, no attributes (e.g. derive, repr) are applied to it.

Within the state_machine macro you must define at least one state transition.


You can specify visibility like this:

use rust_fsm::*;

state_machine! {
    pub CircuitBreaker(Closed)

    Closed(Unsuccessful) => Open [SetupTimer],
    Open(TimerTriggered) => HalfOpen,
    HalfOpen => {
        Successful => Closed,
        Unsuccessful => Open [SetupTimer],

The default visibility is private.

Custom alphabet types

You can supply your own types to use as input, output or state. All of them are optional: you can use only one of them or all of them at once if you want to. The current limitation is that you have to supply a fully qualified type path.

use rust_fsm::*;

pub enum Input {

pub enum State {

pub enum Output {

state_machine! {
    #[state_machine(input(crate::Input), state(crate::State), output(crate::Output))]

    Closed(Unsuccessful) => Open [SetupTimer],
    Open(TimerTriggered) => HalfOpen,
    HalfOpen => {
        Successful => Closed,
        Unsuccessful => Open [SetupTimer]


state_machine macro can document your state machines with diagrams. This is controlled by the diagram feature, which is non-default. The diagrams are generated in the Mermaid format. This feature includes the Mermaid script into the documentation page.

To see this in action, download the repository and run:

cargo doc -p doc-example --open


Without DSL

The state_machine macro has limited capabilities (for example, a state cannot carry any additional data), so in certain complex cases a user might want to write a more complex state machine by hand.

All you need to do to build a state machine is to implement the StateMachineImpl trait and use it in conjuctions with some of the provided wrappers (for now there is only StateMachine).

You can see an example of the Circuit Breaker state machine in the project repository.

Commit count: 95

cargo fmt