box ⟦priv …⟦: ⟦struct⟧ … ⟦where …;⟧⟧⟧ <…>

A box <…> expression moves its parameter's backing storage into a new heap object, bound to a field of the current storage context.

The field can be named using box priv … syntax. If the field is named, its type can be specified using : ….

If you don't name the type or specify its name using : struct …, it is generated automatically.

The field can be made public by writing box pub …. Any other standard Rust visibility can be used in place of pub, too, to similar effects.

In practical terms:

  • Any captures are first placed in a Box<…> before being assigned to a ⟦named⟧ field inside the current component instance.

    This means that, for example, if you write box as boxed <*Component as child>, you'll need to access it as self.boxed.child.

    This introduces some level of runtime indirection, also when rendering components.

  • Uninitialised boxed expressions take up very little space.

  • Recursion becomes possible.

Component recursion

Infinite recursive (storage) inlining isn't possible (except theoretically for zero-sized-types, but Rust makes no distinction here).

This means the following requires boxing:

asteracea::component! {
  Countdown()(
    i: usize,
  )

  [
    !(i)
    dyn if {i > 0} [
      "\n"
      box <*Countdown .i = {i - 1}>
    ]
  ]
}

Note:

It's decidedly better to implement the above with a loop!
If you have a better example to demonstrate recursion with, please let me know!

Note the use of dyn if to prevent infinite eager initialisation.

You can alternatively combine spread if with lazy ⟦move⟧ to avoid throwing away heap allocations once they exist. This is better in cases where the recursion depth changes quickly or

Memory savings

The container component size reduction isn't very useful in most cases, since Asteracea initialises child components eagerly, but can be used to great effect with dyn branching if certain arms require especially large storage.

Consider the following:


#![allow(unused)]
fn main() {
use std::mem::size_of;

asteracea::component! {
  Heavy()()

  let self.large: [u8; 1_000] = #![allow(dead_code)]
    [0; 1_000]; // 1 KB

  "Hello!"
}

asteracea::component! {
  Holder()(
    show: bool = false,
  )

  [
    "Holder size: " !(size_of::<Self>()) " bytes"
    spread if {show} //TODO: Replace `spread` with `dyn`!
      <*Heavy>
  ]
}
}
Holder size: 1000 bytes

As you can see, Holder requires 1KB of space even though Heavy is never used.

You can avoid this as follows:


#![allow(unused)]
fn main() {
use std::mem::size_of;

asteracea::component! {
  Heavy()()

  let self.large: [u8; 1_000] = #![allow(dead_code)]
    [0; 1_000]; // 1 KB

  "Hello!"
}

asteracea::component! {
  Holder()(
    show: bool = false,
  )

  [
    "Holder size: " !(size_of::<Self>()) " bytes"
    spread if {show} //TODO: Replace `spread` with `dyn`!
      box <*Heavy>
  ]
}
}
Holder size: 8 bytes

As dyn if won't initialise its branches unless necessary, no heap allocation happens in this case either.