This page documents some of the machinery around lint registration and how we run lints in the compiler.
LintStore is the central piece of infrastructure, around which everything
rotates. It's not available during the early parts of compilation (i.e., before
TyCtxt) in most code, as we need to fill it in with all of the lints, which can only happen after
There are two parts to the linting mechanism within the compiler: lints and lint passes. Unfortunately, a lot of the documentation we have refers to both of these as just "lints."
First, we have the lint declarations themselves: this is where the name and default lint level and
other metadata come from. These are normally defined by way of the
declare_lint! macro, which
boils down to a static with type
As of July 2021, we lint against direct declarations without the use of the macro today (although this may change in the future, as the macro is somewhat unwieldy to add new fields to, like all macros).
Lint declarations don't carry any "state" - they are merely global identifers and descriptions of lints. We assert at runtime that they are not registered twice (by lint name).
Lint passes are the meat of any lint. Notably, there is not a one-to-one relationship between lints and lint passes; a lint might not have any lint pass that emits it, it could have many, or just one -- the compiler doesn't track whether a pass is in any way associated with a particular lint, and frequently lints are emitted as part of other work (e.g., type checking, etc.).
- internal lints: lints only used by the rustc codebase
- builtin lints: lints built into the compiler and not provided by some outside source
- plugin lints: lints created by plugins through the plugin system.
register_lints: lints passed into the compiler during construction
Lints are registered via the
LintStore::register_lint function. This should
happen just once for any lint, or an ICE will occur.
Once the registration is complete, we "freeze" the lint store by placing it in an
Lrc. Later in
the driver, it's passed into the
GlobalCtxt constructor where it lives in an immutable form from
Lint passes are registered separately into one of the categories (pre-expansion,
early, late, late module). Passes are registered as a closure -- i.e.,
impl Fn() -> Box<dyn X>, where
dyn X is either an early or late lint pass trait
object. When we run the lint passes, we run the closure and then invoke the lint
pass methods. The lint pass methods take
&mut self so they can keep track of state
These are lints used just by the compiler or plugins like
clippy. They can be found in
An example of such a lint is the check that lint passes are implemented using the
declare_lint_pass! macro and not by hand. This is accomplished with the
These are primarily described in two places:
rustc_lint::builtin. Often the first provides the definitions for the lints themselves,
and the latter provides the lint pass definitions (and implementations), but this is not always
This is one of the primary use cases remaining for plugins/drivers. Plugins are given access
to the mutable
LintStore during registration (which happens inside of
rustc_interface::register_plugins) and they can call any functions they need on
LintStore, just like rustc code.
Plugins are intended to declare lints with the
plugin field set to true (e.g., by
way of the
declare_tool_lint! macro), but this is purely for diagnostics and help text;
otherwise plugin lints are mostly just as first class as rustc builtin lints.
These are the lints provided by drivers via the
which is a callback. Drivers should, if finding it already set, call the function currently set
within the callback they add. The best way for drivers to get access to this is by overriding the
Callbacks::config function which gives them direct access to the
Within the compiler, for performance reasons, we usually do not register dozens
of lint passes. Instead, we have a single lint pass of each variety
BuiltinCombinedModuleLateLintPass) which will internally call all of the
individual lint passes; this is because then we get the benefits of static over
dynamic dispatch for each of the (often empty) trait methods.
Ideally, we'd not have to do this, since it adds to the complexity of understanding the code. However, with the current type-erased lint store approach, it is beneficial to do so for performance reasons.