Announcing scoped-trace.

Today, I’m announcing scoped-trace, a crate for capturing scoped, tree-like execution traces.

Here are the crate’s important links:

For example, running this program:

use scoped_trace::Trace;

fn main() {
    // `Trace::root` establishes the upper unwinding bound of traces.
    let (_, trace) = Trace::root(|| foo());

fn foo() {

fn bar() {
    // `Trace::leaf` establishes the lower bounds of traces.

fn baz() {

…produces an output that looks like this:

╼ inlining::main::{{closure}} at
  ├╼ inlining::foo at
  │  └╼ inlining::bar at
  └╼ inlining::foo at
     └╼ inlining::baz at

This trace stops at the upper unwinding bound established by Trace::root, and includes the callers of Trace::leaf. The trace also preserves the order of execution, showing that bar() was invoked before baz().

A quirk of this crate is that it inverts the usual directionality of backtrace APIs. Calling std::backtrace::Backtrace::capture(), for instance, gives you a backtrace that starts at its callsite and unwinds to the top of the stack. By contrast, calling Trace::leaf gives you nothing at all; rather, it contributes itself to the trace produced by Trace::root. In a sense Trace::root doesn’t give up a backtrace, it gives you a downtrace — a view down the call stack starting at Trace::root.


This crate is one of a several of crates I developed recently to explore the solution space of tracing the state of asynchronous tasks. You can read more about that work here; this crate is a proof-of-concept of the “Backtrace the Leaves” approach described there.

In contrast to the async-backtrace crate, which requires onerous manual instrumentation and imposes a constant, modest runtime overhead, the scoped-trace approach will only require instrumenting Future leaves (i.e., futures without sub-futures, like timers or I/O), and does not impose any runtime overhead. I’ve begun experimenting integrating this approach into Tokio proper, where you’ll be able to use it to inspect the state of all tasks managed by a Tokio runtime. Stay tuned!

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