Rust by Example

18.5.1 Pipes

The Process struct represents a running child process, and exposes the stdin, stdout and stderr handles for interaction with the underlying process via pipes.

use std::error::Error;
use std::io::prelude::*;
use std::process::{Command, Stdio};

static PANGRAM: &'static str =
"the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog\n";

fn main() {
    // Spawn the `wc` command
    let process = match Command::new("wc")
                                .spawn() {
        Err(why) => panic!("couldn't spawn wc: {}", why.description()),
        Ok(process) => process,

    // Write a string to the `stdin` of `wc`.
    // `stdin` has type `Option<ChildStdin>`, but since we know this instance
    // must have one, we can directly `unwrap` it.
    match process.stdin.unwrap().write_all(PANGRAM.as_bytes()) {
        Err(why) => panic!("couldn't write to wc stdin: {}",
        Ok(_) => println!("sent pangram to wc"),

    // Because `stdin` does not live after the above calls, it is `drop`ed,
    // and the pipe is closed.
    // This is very important, otherwise `wc` wouldn't start processing the
    // input we just sent.

    // The `stdout` field also has type `Option<ChildStdout>` so must be unwrapped.
    let mut s = String::new();
    match process.stdout.unwrap().read_to_string(&mut s) {
        Err(why) => panic!("couldn't read wc stdout: {}",
        Ok(_) => print!("wc responded with:\n{}", s),