While building RESTful HTTP microservices for Rust, I’ve had to become quite familiar with the Rust futures library. It’s taken a lot of getting my head around - the key concept in futures is that you don’t know when your code is actually going to execute, and it may execute in small incremental, non-blocking steps - hence you can’t and don’t handle returns from Futures in the “present”, because they don’t exist in the context you’re writing your code. This leads to a lot of function chaining, where you write closures (or functions) which map from one return type (from a future) to another and just let the futures library actually run it all at the right time. After several months I can just about cope with that.

What I’ve more recently had to do is chain together an arbitrary number of future calls, to build up a single return object - I’m doing this to expose an API which itself needs to call another API repeatedly - i.e. to the save the user from having to do that. This is more complicated, but can be done with futures::stream. From the docs:

A stream here is a sequential sequence of values which may take some amount of time in between to produce.

Sounds promising.

There’s even a helpful stackoverflow example on how to do this. Or at least it would be it if compiled. Here’s my version which does compile - and works. Full credit to shepmaster who nearly got this right! (It’s entirely possible the API has changed since the stackoverflow answer, hence the reason the example doesn’t compile and run.)

extern crate futures;

use futures::{future::{self}, stream, Future, Stream};

fn network_request(val: i32) -> impl Future<Item = i32, Error = ()> {        
    // Just for demonstration, don't do this in a real program
    use std::{thread, time::{Duration, Instant}};
    println!("Resolving {} at {:?}", val, Instant::now());

    future::ok(val * 100)

fn requests_in_sequence(vals: Vec<i32>) -> impl Stream<Item = i32, Error = ()> {
    stream::unfold(vals.into_iter(), |mut vals| {
        match vals.next() {
            Some(v) => Some(network_request(v).map(|v| (v, vals))),
            None => None,

fn main() {
    let s = requests_in_sequence(vec![1, 2, 3]);
    println!("Evaluate s");
    let s = s.wait();
    println!("Print out s");
    for s in s {
        println!("-> {:?}", s);
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