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What is Arc in Rust and how to use it with rust traits ?

Using Arc with traits in Rust is a bit more involved, but I'll do my best to explain it to you step by step.

Understanding Arc : What is it ?

Arc stands for "Atomic Reference Counted" and is a type in Rust's standard library (std::sync::Arc) .

It allows you to share ownership of data between multiple threads, ensuring that the data is deallocated only when the last reference to it is dropped.

This is useful when you need to pass data between threads or share it across different parts of your code safely.

Understanding Traits

In Rust, traits define behavior that types can implement.

Think of them as a set of functions that a type must provide to be considered as implementing that trait.

Traits enable you to write generic code that works with any type that implements the required behavior.

Now, let's see how we can combine Arc with traits.

Defining the Trait

First, you need to define the trait that describes the behavior you want your types to implement.

For example, let's create a simple trait called Printable that requires a print function.

trait Printable {
    fn print(&self);
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Implementing the Trait for a Struct

Next, let's create a simple struct and implement the Printable trait for it.

struct MyData {
    data: String,
impl Printable for MyData {
    fn print(&self) {
        println!("MyData: {}",;
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Using Arc with the Trait

Now, we want to use Arc to share the MyData instance across different parts of our code.

use std::sync::Arc;

fn main() {
    // Create an instance of MyData
    let my_data = MyData {
        data: "Hello, Arc!".to_string(),
    // Create an Arc that holds a reference to the MyData instance
    let arc_my_data: Arc<dyn Printable> = Arc::new(my_data);
    // Clone the Arc so that we have another reference to the same data
    let cloned_arc_my_data = Arc::clone(&arc_my_data);
    // Now we can use both Arc references to the same data
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In this example, we create an Arc that holds a reference to the MyData instance.

We use the Arc::clone function to create additional references to the same data. The print function is called on both Arc references, and it works as expected.

Understanding Arc

You might have noticed that we used Arc instead of Arc.

This is because Arc needs to know the size of the type it's holding at compile time, and trait objects like dyn Trait have a dynamic size that's not known at compile time.

To use Arc with traits, we need to use the dyn keyword to indicate that it's a trait object.

Using Arc with traits allows us to store different types that implement the same trait within the same Arc, enabling more flexibility and composability in our code.

That's the basic explanation of using Arc with traits in Rust. It provides you with a way to share trait objects across threads while ensuring proper memory management.

But What about Data mutation

You cannot directly mutate the data held by an Arc between different threads.

The whole purpose of Arc is to provide shared ownership of immutable data across multiple threads in a safe manner.

It enforces the rule that the data inside an Arc cannot be mutated once it's shared.

When you have an Arc, it allows multiple threads to have read-only access to the data simultaneously, but it does not provide a way for multiple threads to mutate the data concurrently.

If you need to mutate the data, you should use interior mutability patterns like Mutex or RwLock in combination with Arc.

Using Mutex

If you want to mutate the data in a thread-safe manner, you can wrap the data inside a Mutex.

The Mutex enforces that only one thread can acquire the lock to the data at a time, ensuring exclusive access during the mutation.

use std::sync::{Arc, Mutex};
use std::thread;

struct MyData {
    counter: Mutex<u32>,
impl MyData {
    fn increment_counter(&self) {
        let mut counter = self.counter.lock().unwrap();
        *counter += 1;
fn main() {
    let my_data = Arc::new(MyData {
        counter: Mutex::new(0),
    let threads: Vec<_> = (0..4)
        .map(|_| {
            let my_data_clone = Arc::clone(&my_data);
            thread::spawn(move || {
    for t in threads {
    let counter_value = *my_data.counter.lock().unwrap();
    println!("Final Counter Value: {}", counter_value);
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Using RwLock

If you need to allow multiple threads to read the data simultaneously but still need exclusive access for mutation, you can use RwLock (Read-Write Lock).

The important thing to remember is that when you use Mutex or RwLock with Arc, you need to wrap the data in these types first before placing it inside the Arc.

This ensures that thread-safe access and mutation are guaranteed.

If you need to mutate the data held by an Arc from different threads, you should use interior mutability patterns like Mutex or RwLock in conjunction with Arc to achieve thread safety.

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