Crate alot

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alot forbids unsafe code alot is considered alpha crate version Live Build Status HTML Coverage Report for main Documentation for main

A set of collections for storing values in a map-like structure using generated unique keys. The base collection type, Lots<T>, returns a LotId for each stored value. The stored values can be retrieved or removed using their LotId.

This collection provides insert and read performance comparable to Vec<T>, but does not guarantee anything about the order of the contained values.

If ordering is needed, OrderedLots<T> is provided which tracks the order of elements while still allowing lookups by LotId. Removing a value by its LotId becomes an O(n) operation with this collection.

Lots<T>: Unordered collection of T

use alot::Lots;

let mut map = Lots::new();
// Similar to a Vec, push adds a new value to the collection.
let greeting = map.push("hello, world");
// Prints: Greeting: LotId { generation: 1, index: 0 }
println!("Greeting: {greeting:?}");
// Values can be retrieved by their LotId.
assert_eq!(map[greeting], "hello, world");

OrderedLots<T>: Ordered collection of T

use alot::OrderedLots;

let mut map = OrderedLots::new();
// Values stored in OrderedLots can be accessed by index or by their LotId.
let c = map.push("c");
let a = map.push("a");

assert_eq!(map[c], map[0]);

// With OrderedLots, values can be inserted as well as pushed.
let b = map.insert(1, "b");
assert_eq!(map, &["c", "b", "a"]);

// OrderedLots also provides sorting functions.
assert_eq!(map, &["a", "b", "c"]);

What separates this crate from others?

There are several approaches to “slot maps” or “generational arenas” or other similarly named structures. This crate takes two approaches that make it unique:

  • No unsafe code.
  • LotId is a single usize. Most slot maps use usize for indicies, and an additional usize for the generation.
  • Internally, the storage for each value only has a maximum of 2 bytes of overhead, excluding padding the compiler may add. Most generational maps must store a usize for the generation, and many incur an additional byte of overhead due to using Option<T>.
  • The free list is a Vec<usize>, rather than attempting to reuse the empty slot’s space. This was chosen for these advantages:
    • Without unsafe on a 64-bit architecture, it’s impossible to fit 48 bits of index data in the Empty state without causing the SlotData enum to take up more space than it currently does when size_of::<T>() is less than the size of a usize. For example, the internal slot storage for Lots<u16> uses 4 bytes per value.
    • Unless the collection is drained or undergoes large numbers of removals, the free list is usually short.

These design choices cause these limitations on this implementation:

  • Collections are limited to 75% of the maximum usize. In general, this isn’t a real limitation as allocating a contiguous region of memory that spans 75% of the target architecture’s RAM isn’t practical. On a 64-bit platform, Lots<T> can hold 2^48 items – 281 trillion items.
  • Compared to implementations that utilize a full usize for generations, this implementation will be more likely to return data for a stale ID due to the generation rotating.
  • Collections that grow large and then shrink very small again in most situations will utilize more RAM than alternate solutions that use a linked-list approach to keeping track of free slots.



  • An ordered collection of values, accessible by LotId or index.
  • An unordered collection of values, accessible by LotId.


  • A LotId is a single usize, encoding generation information in the top 1/4 of the bits, and index information in the remaining bits. This table shows the breakdown for supported target platforms: