Is 'type alias' a misnomer?


rustc 1.0.0-nightly (d3732a12e 2015-02-06 23:30:17 +0000)

When reading the reference manual about type aliases, I (possibly erroneously) arrived at the conclusion that type-aliases are just a shortcut to save some typing. The following example proved me wrong though.

// type actually declares something like a new type with given memory layout
struct Foo {
    a: u32,
impl Foo {
    fn bark(&self) {
        println!("Wuff {}", self.a);

    fn id() -> &'static str {
assert_eq!(Foo::id(), "FOO");
let f = Foo { a: 1 };

type Bar = Foo;
// assert_eq!(!Bar::id(), "FOO");
// error: unresolved name `Bar::id`
// tests/     assert_eq!(!Bar::id(), "FOO");
let b = Bar { a: 2 };
b.bark(); // this works though

impl Bar {
    // This would add a similarly named implementation, that is difficult to call
    // due to ambiguity.
    // Interestingly, it also affects Foo, as well as Bar !!
    // fn bark(&self) {
    //     println!("Grrrr {}", self.a);
    // }

    fn id() -> &'static str {
// b.bark(); // or f.bark();
// error: multiple applicable methods in scope [E0034]
// tests/     f.bark();
//                         ^~~~~~
// tests/ 617:10 note: candidate #1 is defined in an impl for the type `type_aliases::Foo`
// tests/         fn bark(&self) {
// tests/             println!("Wuff {}", self.a);
// tests/         }
// tests/ 639:10 note: candidate #2 is defined in an impl for the type `type_aliases::Foo`
// tests/         fn bark(&self) {
// tests/             println!("Grrrr {}", self.a);
assert_eq!(Bar::id(), "BAR");

It seems Bar is a new type, which shares the memory layout of Foo. It does inherit instance methods, but doesn’t inherit type methods. Interestingly, instance method implementations applied to Bar also apply to Foo.

Is it just me being unable to understand the documentation, or am I onto something here ?


This is just a limitation of resolve. They are type aliases, since you can substitute in the aliased type with no change in type-checking semantics. The only problem is that resolution doesn’t know about due to the way inherent impls are implemented. This will likely be fixed in the future.


Is there a ticket for that on github that I could subscribe to ?