Components in Rust

Rust has first-class support for the component model via the cargo component tool. It is a cargo subcommand for creating WebAssembly components using Rust as the component's implementation language.

Installing cargo component

To install cargo component, run:

cargo install cargo-component

You can find more details about cargo component in its page.

Building a Component with cargo component

Create a Rust library that implements the add function in the example world. First scaffold a project:

$ cargo component new add --lib && cd add

Note that cargo component generates the necessary bindings as a module called bindings.

Next, update wit/world.wit to match add.wit and modify the component package reference to change the package name to example. The component section of Cargo.toml should look like the following:

package = "component:example"

cargo component will generate bindings for the world specified in a package's Cargo.toml. In particular, it will create a Guest trait that a component should implement. Since our example world has no interfaces, the trait lives directly under the bindings module. Implement the Guest trait in add/src/ such that it satisfied the example world, adding an add function. It should look similar to the following:

mod bindings;

use bindings::Guest;

struct Component;

impl Guest for Component {
    fn add(x: i32, y: i32) -> i32 {
        x + y

Now, use cargo component to build the component, being sure to optimize with a release build.

$ cargo component build --release

You can use wasm-tools component wit to output the WIT package of the component:

$ wasm-tools component wit target/wasm32-wasi/release/add.wasm
package root:component;

world root {
  export add: func(x: s32, y: s32) -> s32;

Running a Component from Rust Applications

To verify that our component works, lets run it from a Rust application that knows how to run a component targeting the example world.

The application uses wasmtime crates to generate Rust bindings, bring in WASI worlds, and execute the component.

$ cd examples/example-host
$ cargo run --release -- 1 2 ../add/target/wasm32-wasi/release/add.wasm
1 + 2 = 3

Exporting an interface with cargo component

The sample add.wit file exports a function. However, to use your component from another component, it must export an interface. This results in slightly fiddlier bindings. For example, to implement the following world:

package docs:adder@0.1.0;

interface add {
    add: func(a: u32, b: u32) -> u32;

world adder {
    export add;

you would write the following Rust code:

fn main() {
mod bindings;
// Separating out the interface puts it in a sub-module
use bindings::exports::docs::calculator::add::Guest;

struct Component;

impl Guest for Component {
    fn add(a: u32, b: u32) -> u32 {
        a + b

Importing an interface with cargo component

The world file (wit/world.wit) generated for you by cargo component new --lib doesn't specify any imports.

cargo component build, by default, uses the Rust wasm32-wasi target, and therefore automatically imports any required WASI interfaces - no action is needed from you to import these. This section is about importing custom WIT interfaces from library components.

If your component consumes other components, you can edit the world.wit file to import their interfaces.

For example, suppose you have created and built an adder component as explained in the exporting an interface section and want to use that component in a calculator component. Here is a partial example world for a calculator that imports the add interface:

// in the 'calculator' project

// wit/world.wit
package docs:calculator;

interface calculate {
    eval-expression: func(expr: string) -> u32;

world calculator {
    export calculate;
    import docs:adder/add@0.1.0;

Referencing the package to import

Because the docs:adder package is in a different project, we must first tell cargo component how to find it. To do this, add the following to the Cargo.toml file:

"docs:adder" = { path = "../adder/wit" }  # directory containing the WIT package

Note that the path is to the adder project's WIT directory, not to the world.wit file. A WIT package may be spread across multiple files in the same directory; cargo component will look at all the files.

Calling the import from Rust

Now the declaration of add in the adder's WIT file is visible to the calculator project. To invoke the imported add interface from the calculate implementation:

fn main() {
// src/
mod bindings;

use bindings::exports::docs::calculator::calculate::Guest;

// Bring the imported add function into scope
use bindings::docs::calculator::add::add;

struct Component;

impl Guest for Component {
    fn eval_expression(expr: String) -> u32 {
        // Cleverly parse `expr` into values and operations, and evaluate
        // them meticulously.
        add(123, 456)

Fulfilling the import

When you build this using cargo component build, the add interface remains imported. The calculator has taken a dependency on the add interface, but has not linked the adder implementation of that interface - this is not like referencing the adder crate. (Indeed, calculator could import the add interface even if there was no Rust project implementing the WIT file.) You can see this by running wasm-tools component wit to view the calculator's world:

# Do a release build to prune unused imports (e.g. WASI)
$ cargo component build --release

$ wasm-tools component wit ./target/wasm32-wasi/release/calculator.wasm
package root:component;

world root {
  import docs:adder/add@0.1.0;

  export docs:calculator/calculate@0.1.0;

As the import is unfulfilled, the calculator.wasm component could not run by itself in its current form. To fulfill the add import, so that only calculate is exported, you would need to compose the calculator.wasm with some exports-add.wasm into a single, self-contained component.

Creating a command component with cargo component

A command is a component with a specific export that allows it to be executed directly by wasmtime (or other wasm:cli hosts). In Rust terms, it's the equivalent of an application (bin) package with a main function, instead of a library crate (lib) package.

To create a command with cargo component, run:

cargo component new <name>

Unlike library components, this does not have the --lib flag. You will see that the created project is different too:

  • It doesn't contain a .wit file. cargo component build will automatically export the wasm:cli/run interface for Rust bin packages, and hook it up to main.
  • Because there's no .wit file, Cargo.toml doesn't contain a section.
  • The Rust file is called instead of, and contains a main function instead of an interface implementation.

You can write Rust in this project, just as you normally would, including importing your own or third-party crates.

All the crates that make up your project are linked together at build time, and compiled to a single Wasm component. In this case, all the linking is happening at the Rust level: no WITs or component composition is involved. Only if you import Wasm interfaces do WIT and composition come into play.

To run your command component:

cargo component build
wasmtime run ./target/wasm32-wasi/debug/<name>.wasm

WARNING: If your program prints to standard out or error, you may not see the printed output! Some versions of wasmtime have a bug where they don't flush output streams before exiting. To work around this, add a std::thread::sleep() with a 10 millisecond delay before exiting main.

Importing an interface into a command component

As mentioned above, cargo component build doesn't generate a WIT file for a command component. If you want to import a Wasm interface, though, you'll need to create a WIT file and a world, plus reference the packages containing your imports:

  1. Add a wit/world.wit to your project, and write a WIT world that imports the interface(s) you want to use. For example:
package docs:app;

world app {
    import docs:calculator/calculate@0.1.0;

cargo component sometimes fails to find packages if versions are not set explicitly. For example, if the calculator WIT declares package docs:calculator rather than docs:calculator@0.1.0, then you may get an error even though cargo component build automatically versions the binary export.

  1. Edit Cargo.toml to tell cargo component about the new WIT file:
path = "wit"

(This entry is created automatically for library components but not for command components.)

  1. Edit Cargo.toml to tell cargo component where to find external package WITs:
"docs:calculator" = { path = "../calculator/wit" }
"docs:adder" = { path = "../adder/wit" }

If the external package refers to other packages, you need to provide the paths to them as well.

  1. Use the imported interface in your Rust code:
use bindings::docs::calculator::calculate::eval_expression;

fn main() {
    let result = eval_expression("1 + 1");
    println!("1 + 1 = {result}");
  1. Compose the command component with the .wasm components that implement the imports.

  2. Run the composed component:

$ wasmtime run ./my-composed-command.wasm
1 + 1 = 579  # might need to go back and do some work on the calculator implementation