Declaring a Trait

A trait opts a type into a certain type of behavior or functionality that can be shared among types. This allows for easy reuse of code and generic programming. If you have ever used a typeclass in Haskell, a trait in Rust, or even an interface in Java, these are similar concepts.

Let's take a look at some code:

trait Compare {
    fn equals(self, b: Self) -> bool;
} {
    fn not_equals(self, b: Self) -> bool {

We have just declared a trait called Compare. After the name of the trait, there are two blocks of code (a block is code enclosed in { curly brackets }). The first block is the interface surface. The second block is the methods provided by the trait. If a type can provide the methods in the interface surface, then it gets access to the methods in the trait for free! What the above trait is saying is: if you can determine if two values are equal, then for free, you can determine that they are not equal. Note that trait methods have access to the methods defined in the interface surface.

Implementing a Trait

Ok, so I know that numbers can be equal. I want to implement my Compare trait for u64. Let's take a look at how that is done:

impl Compare for u64 {
    fn equals(self, b: Self) -> bool {
        self == b

The above snippet declares all of the methods in the trait Compare for the type u64. Now, we have access to both the equals and not_equals methods for u64, as long as the trait Compare is in scope.


When using multiple traits, scenarios often come up where one trait may require functionality from another trait. This is where supertraits come in as they allow you to require a trait when implementing another trait (ie. a trait with a trait). A good example of this is the Ord trait of the core library of Sway. The Ord trait requires the Eq trait, so Eq is kept as a separate trait as one may decide to implement Eq without implementing other parts of the Ord trait.

trait Eq {
    fn equals(self, b: Self) -> bool;

trait Ord: Eq {
    fn gte(self, b: Self) -> bool;

impl Ord for u64 {
    fn gte(self, b: Self) -> bool {
        // As `Eq` is a supertrait of `Ord`, `Ord` can access the equals method
        self.equals(b) ||

To require a supertrait, add a : after the trait name and then list the traits you would like to require and separate them with a +.

Use Cases

Custom Types (structs, enums)

Often, libraries and APIs have interfaces that are abstracted over a type that implements a certain trait. It is up to the consumer of the interface to implement that trait for the type they wish to use with the interface. For example, let's take a look at a trait and an interface built off of it.

library games;

pub enum Suit {
    Hearts: (),
    Diamonds: (),
    Clubs: (),
    Spades: (),

pub trait Card {
    fn suit(self) -> Suit;
    fn value(self) -> u8;

fn play_game_with_deck<T>(a: Vec<T>) where T: Card {
    // insert some creative card game here

Now, if you want to use the function play_game_with_deck with your struct, you must implement Card for your struct. Note that the following code example assumes a dependency games has been included in the Forc.toml file.


use games::*;

struct MyCard {
    suit: Suit,
    value: u8

impl Card for MyCard {
    fn suit(self) -> Suit {
    fn value(self) -> u8 {

fn main() {
    let mut i = 52;
    let mut deck: Vec<MyCard> = Vec::with_capacity(50);
    while i > 0 {
        i = i - 1;
        deck.push(MyCard { suit: generate_random_suit(), value: i % 4}

fn random_suit(i: u64) -> Suit {
  [ ... ]