Quick start for Rust developers

Welcome to Wipple! This guide goes over some basic Rust concepts and their equivalent in Wipple. When you finish this guide, you’ll have a foundational understanding of Wipple code that you can use to experiment on your own.

Hello, world

Wipple’s equivalent of println! is show:

show "Hello, world!"

Notice that there’s no semicolons in Wipple code — just put each statement on its own line.

Comments, numbers and strings

You can write a comment using --. Wipple only has line comments:

-- This is a comment
this is executed -- this is not

Numbers are represented in base 10 instead of floating point by default, but they are written the same way:


Strings are called “text” in Wipple:

"Hello, world!"
"line 1\nline 2"

Just like in Rust, you can use format to do string interpolation. _ is used as the delimiter instead of {}:

format "Hello, _!" "world" -- Hello, world!


In Wipple, you can declare variables using the : operator:

answer : 42
name : "Wipple"

Wipple has type inference, so you don’t need to write the type of the variable — Wipple will infer it automatically! If you really want to declare the type, you can do so using the :: operator:

answer : (42 :: Number)
name : ("Wipple" :: Text)

Alternatively, you can write the type on its own line just above the variable declaration:

answer :: Number
answer : 42

name :: Text
name : "Wipple"

Note: This syntax actually transforms the variable into a constant that’s lazily evaluated. It’s primarily intended for use in libraries and not in the bodies of functions, top-level code, or other places where the evaluation order matters. The separate-line syntax is required if you want to use generics or recursion.

Wipple doesn’t allow you to change variable’s value after declaring it. If you need access to mutable state, you can do so using mutable (which works like an Rc<RefCell<T>>). By convention, functions that change a mutable value end in !.

counter : mutable (0 :: Natural)

show (get counter) -- 0

increment! counter
show (get counter) -- 1

if statement

Wipple’s if x a b is equivalent to Rust’s if x { a } else { b }:

password : "letmein123"
valid : password = "password123!" -- use a single '=' to compare values
show (if valid "Access granted" "Access denied") -- Access denied

If you want to execute multiple statements inside an if, you can use a block expression:

-- This is OK...
if (1 + 1 = 2) {
    show "Woohoo!"
} {
    show "Oh no"

-- But this is better...
result : if (1 + 1 = 2) "Woohoo!" "Oh no"
show result

Basic types

Wipple has a very similar type system to Rust. You can use :: to annotate the type of a value:

42 :: Number
"Hello" :: Text

If you mismatch the types, Wipple will emit an error:

42 :: Text -- mismatched types: expected `Text`, but found `Number`


Wipple calls structs “types”, which you can create using type:

Person : type {
    name :: Text
    age :: Number

Just like in Rust, you instantiate a type by writing the name of the type followed by its fields:

bob : Person {
    name : "Bob"
    age : 35

And instead of bob.name and bob.age, you can use destructuring or the of operator:

-- Preferred way
{ name age } : bob

-- Alternative way
name : name of bob
age : age of bob


Wipple’s functions work like Rust’s closures. a -> b is equivalent to Rust’s |a| b:

increment : x -> x + 1
show (increment 42) -- 43

One big difference is that Wipple functions may only accept a single parameter. If you want multiple parameters, use multiple functions!

add : a -> b -> a + b
show (add 1 2) -- 3

If that’s confusing, here’s the equivalent Rust code:

let add = |a| { move |b| { a + b } };
println!("{}", add(1.0)(2.0)); // 3


Wipple doesn’t allow you to impl methods for a type (although you can store functions inside types like any other value). Instead, you can declare functions like this:

greet :: Person -> Text
greet : { name } -> format "Hello, _!" name

greet bob -- Hello, Bob!

Alternatively, you can use the . operator to chain function calls:

bob . greet -- Hello, Bob!


Wipple’s traits are similar to Rust’s traits, but they are even more powerful. Instead of being limited to being implemented for a single Self type, Wipple traits can represent a relationship between multiple types at once. Let’s start with a simple example though — here is how you would define a Greet trait and implement it for Person and Earth:


// Greet is a trait that can be implemented with a function returning a string
trait Greet {
    fn greet(&self) -> &str;

// For any value implementing Greet, return a greeting
fn greet<A>(x: A) -> String
    A: Greet,
    format!("Hello, {}!", x.greet())

struct Person {
    name: String,

impl Person {
    fn new(name: impl ToString) -> Self {
        Person {
            name: name.to_string(),

// Greet for Person values is defined as the person's name
impl Greet for Person {
    fn greet(&self) -> &str {

struct Earth;

    // Greet for Earth values is defined as "world"
impl Greet for Earth {
    fn greet(&self) -> &str {

fn main() {
    println!("{}", greet(Person::new("Bob"))); // Hello, Bob!
    println!("{}", greet(Earth)); // Hello, world!


-- Greet is a trait that can be defined with a function returning text
Greet : A => trait (A -> Text)

-- For any value where Greet is defined, return a greeting
greet :: A where (Greet A) => A -> Text
greet : x -> format "Hello, _!" (Greet x)

Person : type {
    name :: Text

-- Greet for Person values is defined as the person's name
instance (Greet Person) : { name } -> name

Earth : type

-- Greet for Earth values is defined as "world"
instance (Greet Earth) : just "world"

show (greet (Person { name : "Bob" })) -- Hello, Bob!
show (greet Earth) -- Hello, world!

Wipple also allows you to derive implementations of traits like Equal — just omit the implementation and Wipple will generate it for you!

instance Equal Person -- auto-generates an implementation

Option<T> and Result<T, E>

Wipple’s equivalent of Option<T> is Maybe A, and Result<T, E> is Result Success Failure. Otherwise, they work in the same way!

  • Use when instead of match to do pattern matching.
  • Use end to exit the current block with a value.
  • Use try to exit the current block if the provided value is None, Error, or another type that can be converted into a Result.

Here’s an example:

Database-Error : type {
    message :: Text

instance (Show Database-Error) : { message } -> format "database error: _" message

fetch-user :: Integer -> Database -> Result User Database-Error
fetch-user : id -> database -> {
    table : database . table "users"

    if (table . contains? id)
        (OK (table . get id))
        (Error (Database-Error { message : format "no user with id _" id }))

bob : try (database . fetch-user 42)
show bob