Simple case of using the clippy::pedantic lints and setting priority

Clippy linter

Clippy is an excellent linter for Rust. It can help improving your code.

As a starter you would just run cargo clippy in the folder of your crate, but later you might want to add additional lints.

The following code has two issues that the clippy::pedantic set of rules will flag:


fn main() {
    let name = "Rust";
    let _x = 1;
    println!("Hello, {}!", name);

Clippy with command line flags

One way to check this is to run clippy with flags. -D means we want to deny these rules, that clippy won't accept them. This command will show 2 errors:

$ cargo clippy --  -Dclippy::pedantic

    Checking uninlined-format-args v0.1.0 (/home/gabor/work/
error: binding to `_` prefixed variable with no side-effect
 --> src/
3 |     let _x = 1;
  |     ^^^^^^^^^^^
  = help: for further information visit
  = note: `-D clippy::no-effect-underscore-binding` implied by `-D clippy::pedantic`
  = help: to override `-D clippy::pedantic` add `#[allow(clippy::no_effect_underscore_binding)]`

error: variables can be used directly in the `format!` string
 --> src/
4 |     println!("Hello, {}!", name);
  |     ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
  = help: for further information visit
  = note: `-D clippy::uninlined-format-args` implied by `-D clippy::pedantic`
  = help: to override `-D clippy::pedantic` add `#[allow(clippy::uninlined_format_args)]`
help: change this to
4 -     println!("Hello, {}!", name);
4 +     println!("Hello, {name}!");

error: could not compile `uninlined-format-args` (bin "uninlined-format-args") due to 2 previous errors

Usually in a big code-base you will get tens or hundreds of these that you can't fix immediately. So you might want to exclude the failing ones and then enable them one by one as I suggested in the getting started with Clippy on an existing project article.

$ cargo clippy -- -Dclippy::pedantic -Aclippy::uninlined_format_args -Aclippy::no_effect_underscore_binding

This one will report that everything is fine as we tuned on (denied) all the pedantic lints, but then disabled (allowed) the uninlined_format_args and the no_effect_underscore_binding lints.

However the order of the flags matter. If we put the -Dclippy::pedantic at the end then we would still get the two errors.

$ cargo clippy -- -Aclippy::uninlined_format_args -Aclippy::no_effect_underscore_binding -Dclippy::pedantic

So order matters!

Configure Clippy in Cargo.toml

I don't know where I found that it is possible to configure Clippy in the Cargo.toml file, but apparently it is so new that it is not even mentioned in the documentation of Clippy. See my issue. As I see it is mentioned in the documentation of Cargo.

Anyway, we can configure Clippy by adding the following section to Cargo.toml:

pedantic = "deny"
uninlined_format_args = "allow"
no_effect_underscore_binding = "allow"

and then run cargo clippy without any extra parameters.

However this will put them in ABC order on the command line, as if we were running this command:

cargo clippy --  -Aclippy::uninlined_format_args -Dclippy::pedantic -Aclippy::no_effect_underscore_binding

Which means it will still report the uninlined_format_args issues as pedantic comes after it on the command line.

The right way to configure this order is to set the priority of pedantic lint-group lower:

pedantic = { priority = -1, level = "deny" }
uninlined_format_args = "allow"
no_effect_underscore_binding = "allow"

then running cargo clippy will not complain any more.

Once clippy is happy we can enable the lints that we feel are important and fix the code slowly.

Configure in clippy.toml or .clippy.toml

We can also use either of those files to configure Clippy and as I understand the priority setting is clearer there. Read the documentation on how to configure Clippy.

Automatic Fix

We could use the --fix flag to get Rust to fix our code:

cargo clippy --fix

I will write about this in a separate article.

The full Cargo.toml file


name = "uninlined-format-args"
version = "0.1.0"
edition = "2021"

# See more keys and their definitions at


#pedantic = "deny"
pedantic = { priority = -1, level = "deny" }
uninlined_format_args = "allow"
no_effect_underscore_binding = "allow"

Related Pages

Automatically fixing issues in Rust code


Gabor Szabo (szabgab)

Gabor Szabo, the author of the Rust Maven web site maintains several Open source projects in Rust and while he still feels he has tons of new things to learn about Rust he already offers training courses in Rust and still teaches Python, Perl, git, GitHub, GitLab, CI, and testing.

Gabor Szabo