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Cargo Workspaces

What happens when the program keep growing and have multiple library crates? That's where cargo workspace comes for the rescue.

  • Workspaces help you manage multiple related packages that are being developed
  • Packages in a workspace share common dependency resolution, since they have only one Cargo.lock file.
  • Packages in a workspace also share one output directory and release profiles.

Cargo Workspaces

Creating a Workspace

We are going to create one binary that depends on one library. - First library having add_one function.

Begin by creating a directory and opening it in an editor:

mkdir add
cd add
code .

Next we'll add a Cargo.toml file to configure our workspace, by creating a worspace section instead of a package section. - Then we'll specify the members of the workspace called workspace members specifying the path to the packages.


members = [

Then we'll add a new package adder and even try building it:

cargo new adder
cargo build

The newly created package will not have a target folder or Cargo.lock file but instead at root of our workspace, signifying the packages in a workspace are meant to depend on each other. Meaning if each package had its own target directory, when you would compile that package, you would have to also compile all its dependencies. But now they are combinely managed in a single workspace with same dependencies, reducing the amount of compilation required.

Creating Second pacakge in Workspace

Update the root Cargo.toml file:


members = [

We'll add a second package add-one and specifying --lib for library:

cargo new add-one --lib

Update the add-one/src/ file:

pub fn add_one(x: i32) -> i32 {
    x +1

Next, we need to specify that our adder binary depends on add-one library. We'll do this by updating adder's Cargo.toml file: - Cargo by default don't assume that crates within a workspace depend on each other.

add-one = { path = "../add-one" }

Now we can use our newly created library in adder binary, in adder/src/

use add_one;

fn mian() {
  let num = 10;
      "Hello, world! {} plus one is {}!",

To build our workspace run the build command from the root of workspace:

cargo build

Next we can the adder binary from the root of our workspace by running:

cargo run --package adder

External dependencies

Since all the packages uses one single Cargo.lock for dependency resolution, this ensures that the packages are compatible with each other. - If we add a dependency to add-one package and adder package, they both will resolve to the same version.

If we add a rand dependency to Cargo.toml file of add-one package and use it somewhere in

rand = "0.8.3"
use rand;

pub fn add_one(x: i32 ) -> i32 {
  // ...

Then from the root of the package we can build the workspace: cargo build which adds rand as a dependency for the add-one package.

We can't use the rand dependency however in adder package until we add it as a dependency for adder in it's Cargo.toml file:

add-one = { path = "../add-one" }
rand = "0.8.3"

Adding a Test to a Workspace

Let's add one test module inside file of add-one package:

pub fn add_one(x: i32) -> i32 {
  // ..

mod tests {
  use super::*;

  fn it_works() {
    assert_eq!(3, add_one(2));

Now run cargo test from workspace root. This will run all package-tests and documentation tests.

If we wanted to run tests for a specific package we could run it using -p or --package option specfying the specific package:

cargo test -p add-one

To publish a package from a workspace we have to do it individually for each package.

Installing Binaries from

Although this isn't meant as a replacement for package managers like dnf or apt but as a convenient tool to install tools published on having a binary target. - All binaries are stored in Rust installation routes bin directory.

If installed via rustup this would be the path to that bin directory (can be requirement to add it to PATH, so that other programs use the Rust installed binaries):


Let try this out by installing riprep, the implementation of grep in Rust.

cargo install ripgrep

!! info "Extending Cargo"

If you have a binary named starting with `cargo-`, say `cargo-something`, then this can be used by `cargo` as a command (sub command) to extend its functionality:

cargo something