Crate slab

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Pre-allocated storage for a uniform data type.

Slab provides pre-allocated storage for a single data type. If many values of a single type are being allocated, it can be more efficient to pre-allocate the necessary storage. Since the size of the type is uniform, memory fragmentation can be avoided. Storing, clearing, and lookup operations become very cheap.

While Slab may look like other Rust collections, it is not intended to be used as a general purpose collection. The primary difference between Slab and Vec is that Slab returns the key when storing the value.

It is important to note that keys may be reused. In other words, once a value associated with a given key is removed from a slab, that key may be returned from future calls to insert.


Basic storing and retrieval.

let mut slab = Slab::new();

let hello = slab.insert("hello");
let world = slab.insert("world");

assert_eq!(slab[hello], "hello");
assert_eq!(slab[world], "world");

slab[world] = "earth";
assert_eq!(slab[world], "earth");

Sometimes it is useful to be able to associate the key with the value being inserted in the slab. This can be done with the vacant_entry API as such:

let mut slab = Slab::new();

let hello = {
    let entry = slab.vacant_entry();
    let key = entry.key();

    entry.insert((key, "hello"));

assert_eq!(hello, slab[hello].0);
assert_eq!("hello", slab[hello].1);

It is generally a good idea to specify the desired capacity of a slab at creation time. Note that Slab will grow the internal capacity when attempting to insert a new value once the existing capacity has been reached. To avoid this, add a check.

let mut slab = Slab::with_capacity(1024);

// ... use the slab

if slab.len() == slab.capacity() {
    panic!("slab full");

slab.insert("the slab is not at capacity yet");

§Capacity and reallocation

The capacity of a slab is the amount of space allocated for any future values that will be inserted in the slab. This is not to be confused with the length of the slab, which specifies the number of actual values currently being inserted. If a slab’s length is equal to its capacity, the next value inserted into the slab will require growing the slab by reallocating.

For example, a slab with capacity 10 and length 0 would be an empty slab with space for 10 more stored values. Storing 10 or fewer elements into the slab will not change its capacity or cause reallocation to occur. However, if the slab length is increased to 11 (due to another insert), it will have to reallocate, which can be slow. For this reason, it is recommended to use Slab::with_capacity whenever possible to specify how many values the slab is expected to store.


Slab is backed by a Vec of slots. Each slot is either occupied or vacant. Slab maintains a stack of vacant slots using a linked list. To find a vacant slot, the stack is popped. When a slot is released, it is pushed onto the stack.

If there are no more available slots in the stack, then Vec::reserve(1) is called and a new slot is created.


  • A draining iterator for Slab
  • A consuming iterator over the values stored in a Slab
  • An iterator over the values stored in the Slab
  • A mutable iterator over the values stored in the Slab
  • Pre-allocated storage for a uniform data type
  • A handle to a vacant entry in a Slab.