Announcing "proc-macro-error" crate

Announcement proc-macro-error crate.


Move from panic-based errors for as little effort as possible! Built in hope that people would stop using panics in proc-macros (and I finally get to see nice descriptive errors pointing to the origin location).

Supports single shot panic-like errors, errors that not abort right away (emitting instead of aborting), dummy implementations.


  • No support for warnings.
  • Very limited support for "help" suggestions.
  • If a panic occurs somewhere in your macro no errors will be displayed.


Panic-like usage

use proc_macro_error::*;
use proc_macro::TokenStream;
use syn::{DeriveInput, parse_macro_input};
use quote::quote;

// This is your main entry point
// this attribute *MUST* be placed on top of the #[proc_macro] function
pub fn make_answer(input: TokenStream) -> TokenStream {
    let input = parse_macro_input!(input as DeriveInput);

    if let Err(err) = some_logic(&input) {
        // we've got a span to blame, let's use it
        // This immediately aborts the proc-macro and shows the error
        abort!(err.span, "You made an error, go fix it: {}", err.msg);

    // `Result` has some handy shortcuts if your error type implements
    // `Into<MacroError>`. `Option` has one unconditionally.
    more_logic(&input).expect_or_abort("What a careless user, behave!");

    if !more_logic_for_logic_god(&input) {
        // We don't have an exact location this time,
        // so just highlight the proc-macro invocation itself
            "Bad, bad user! Now go stand in the corner and think about what you did!");

    // Now all the processing is done, return `proc_macro::TokenStream`
    quote!(/* stuff */).into()

Multiple errors

use proc_macro_error::*;
use proc_macro::TokenStream;
use syn::{spanned::Spanned, DeriveInput, ItemStruct, Fields, Attribute , parse_macro_input};
use quote::quote;

fn process_attrs(attrs: &[Attribute]) -> Vec<Attribute> {
        .filter_map(|attr| match process_attr(attr) {
            Ok(res) => Some(res),
            Err(msg) => {
                emit_error!(attr.span(), "Invalid attribute: {}", msg);

fn process_fields(_attrs: &Fields) -> Vec<TokenStream> {
    // processing fields in pretty much the same way as attributes

pub fn make_answer(input: TokenStream) -> TokenStream {
    let input = parse_macro_input!(input as ItemStruct);
    let attrs = process_attrs(&input.attrs);

    // abort right now if some errors were encountered
    // at the attributes processing stage

    let fields = process_fields(&input.fields);

    // no need to think about emitted errors
    // #[proc_macro_errors] will handle them for you
    // just return a TokenStream as you normally would
    quote!(/* stuff */).into()