Exit codes

A program doesn’t always succeed. And when an error occurs, you should make sure to emit the necessary information correctly. In addition to telling the user about errors, on most systems, when a process exits, it also emits an exit code (an integer between 0 and 255 is compatible with most platforms). You should try to emit the correct code for your program’s state. For example, in the ideal case when your program succeeds, it should exit with 0.

When an error occurs, it gets a bit more complicated, though. In the wild, many tools exit with 1 when a common failure occurs. Currently, Rust sets an exit code of 101 when the process panicked. Beyond that, people have done many things in their programs.

So, what to do? The BSD ecosystem has collected a common definition for their exit codes (you can find them here). The Rust library exitcode provides these same codes, ready to be used in your application. Please see its API documentation for the possible values to use.

One way to use it is like this:

fn main() {
    // ...actual work...
    match result {
        Ok(_) => {
            println!("Done!");
            std::process::exit(exitcode::OK);
        }
        Err(CustomError::CantReadConfig(e)) => {
            eprintln!("Error: {}", e);
            std::process::exit(exitcode::CONFIG);
        }
        Err(e) => {
            eprintln!("Error: {}", e);
            std::process::exit(exitcode::DATAERR);
        }
    }
}