Multiple Instantiation

Rhai’s features are not strictly additive. This is easily deduced from the no_std feature which prepares the crate for no-std builds. Obviously, turning on this feature has a material impact on how Rhai behaves.

Many crates resolve this by going the opposite direction: build for no-std in default, but add a std feature, included by default, which builds for the stdlib.

Rhai, however, is more complex.

Rhai Language Features Are Not Additive

Language features cannot be easily made additive.

That is because the lack of a language feature is a feature by itself.

A practical illustration

Assume an additive feature called floating-point that adds floating-point support.

Assume also that the application omits the floating-point feature (why? perhaps integers are all that make sense within the project domain). Floating-point numbers do not even parse under this configuration and will generate syntax errors.

Now, assume that a dependent crate also depends on Rhai, but a new version suddenly decides to require floating-point support. That dependent crate would, naturally, specify the floating-point feature.

Under such circumstances, unless exact versioning is used and the dependent crate depends on a different version of Rhai, Cargo automatically merges both dependencies, with the floating-point feature turned on because features are additive.

This will in turn break the application, which by itself specifically omits floating-point and expects floating-point numbers to be rejected, in unexpected ways. Suddenly and without warning, floating-point numbers show up in data which the application is not prepared to handle.

There is no way out of this dilemma, because the lack of a language feature can be depended upon as a feature.

Multiple Instantiations of Rhai Within The Same Project

The trick is to differentiate between multiple identical copies of Rhai, each having a different features set, by their sources:

Use the following configuration in Cargo.toml to pull in multiple copies of Rhai within the same project:

[dependencies]
rhai = { version = "1.11.0", features = [ "no_float" ] }
rhai_github = { git = "https://github.com/rhaiscript/rhai", features = [ "unchecked" ] }
rhai_my_github = { git = "https://github.com/my_github/rhai", branch = "variation1", features = [ "serde", "no_closure" ] }
rhai_local = { path = "../rhai_copy" }

The example above creates four different modules: rhai, rhai_github, rhai_my_github and rhai_local, each referring to a different Rhai copy with the appropriate features set.

Only one crate of any particular version can be used from each source, because Cargo merges all candidate cases within the same source, adding all features together.

If more than four different instantiations of Rhai is necessary (why?), create more local repositories or GitHub forks or branches.

No way To avoid dependency conflicts

Unfortunately, pulling in Rhai from different sources do not resolve the problem of features conflict between dependencies. Even overriding crates.io via the [patch] manifest section doesn’t work – all dependencies will eventually find the only one copy.

What is necessary – multiple copies of Rhai, one for each dependent crate that requires it, together with their unique features set intact. In other words, turning off Cargo’s crate merging feature just for Rhai.

Unfortunately, as of this writing, there is no known method to achieve it.

Therefore, moral of the story: avoid pulling in multiple crates that depend on Rhai.