Lifetime of string literal

I'm new to rust and reading the book. but I can't understand why does this work?

fn main() {
    let string1 = String::from("abcd");
    let result;
        let string2 = "xyz";
        result = longest(string1.as_str(), string2);
    println!("The longest string is {:?}", result);

fn longest<'a>(a: &'a str, b: &'a str) -> &'a str {
    if a.len() > b.len() {
    } else {

the book says the lifetime of longest return value is equal to the lifetime smaller of the a and b.
but what is the lifetime of string2 literal?
why when we use let string2 = String::from("xyz"), then it doesn't work?

'static lifetime of a string literal is infinite, because the literal is hardcoded into the executable and never goes away. Also because it's a lifetime of a shared loan (&), the compiler is able to automatically shorten/unify it with any other lifetime.

Keep in mind that &'static is a special case. The compiler can only shorten lifetimes, and can never extend them. Lifetimes of exclusive loans (&mut) are even less flexible and may not even be possible to shorten automatically.

If you use let string2 = String::from("xyz");, then string2.as_str() will borrow from the string2's String value, which is temporary and destroyed at the end of the scope. string2 = "xyz" borrows from the program's executable, which stays around for as long as the program is running.


If you want to learn more about that "shortening", see Subtyping and Variance in the reference.


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