Paths for Referring to an Item in the Module Tree

To show Cairo where to find an item in a module tree, we use a path in the same way we use a path when navigating a filesystem. To call a function, we need to know its path.

A path can take two forms:

  • An absolute path is the full path starting from a crate root. The absolute path begins with the crate name.

  • A relative path starts from the current module.

    Both absolute and relative paths are followed by one or more identifiers separated by double colons (::).

To illustrate this notion let's take back our example Listing 7-1 for the restaurant we used in the last chapter. We have a crate named restaurant in which we have a module named front_of_house that contains a module named hosting. The hosting module contains a function named add_to_waitlist. We want to call the add_to_waitlist function from the eat_at_restaurant function. We need to tell Cairo the path to the add_to_waitlist function so it can find it.

Filename: src/lib.cairo

mod front_of_house {
    mod hosting {
        fn add_to_waitlist() {}

        fn seat_at_table() {}

    mod serving {
        fn take_order() {}

        fn serve_order() {}

        fn take_payment() {}

fn eat_at_restaurant() {
    // Absolute path
    restaurant::front_of_house::hosting::add_to_waitlist(); // ✅ Compiles

    // Relative path
    front_of_house::hosting::add_to_waitlist(); // ✅ Compiles

Listing 7-3: Calling the add_to_waitlist function using absolute and relative paths

The first time we call the add_to_waitlist function in eat_at_restaurant, we use an absolute path. The add_to_waitlist function is defined in the same crate as eat_at_restaurant. In Cairo, absolute paths start from the crate root, which you need to refer to by using the crate name.

The second time we call add_to_waitlist, we use a relative path. The path starts with front_of_house, the name of the module defined at the same level of the module tree as eat_at_restaurant. Here the filesystem equivalent would be using the path ./front_of_house/hosting/add_to_waitlist. Starting with a module name means that the path is relative to the current module.

Starting Relative Paths with super

Choosing whether to use a super or not is a decision you’ll make based on your project, and depends on whether you’re more likely to move item definition code separately from or together with the code that uses the item.

Filename: src/lib.cairo

fn deliver_order() {}

mod back_of_house {
    fn fix_incorrect_order() {

    fn cook_order() {}

Listing 7-4: Calling a function using a relative path starting with super

Here you can see directly that you access a parent's module easily using super, which wasn't the case previously.

Last change: 2023-09-20, commit: cbb0049