Why does the following work?

struct Point {
    x: i32,
    y: i32

fn main() {
    let boxed_p = Box::new(Point { x: 1, y: 2 });
    println!("{}", boxed_p.x);

Box doesn’t have a field named "x"!


Rust automatically dereferences in certain cases. Like everything else, it must be explicitly requested:

  • Through a call or field access using the . operator

  • By explicitly dereferencing through *

  • When borrowing through &

  • This sometimes leads to the ugly &*-Pattern

This makes wrapper types very ergonomic and easy to use!

Dereferencing is described by the Deref and DerefMut-Traits.

impl<T> Deref for Box<T> {
    type Target = T;

    fn deref(&self) -> &T {

This call is introduced when dereferencing is requested.

Important deref behaviours

  • String -> &str

  • Vec<T> -> &[T]

Functions that don’t modify the lengths of a String or a Vector should accept a slice instead. The memory layout is chosen so that this is cost free.

fn print_me(message: &str) { println!("{}", message); }

fn main() {
    let a_string = String::from("Bar");