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Rust's IO: Build a program that reads in a CSV file and performs operations such as sorting and filtering on the data.

By David Li on Saturday, 26 December 2024 13:00:00 GMT

Rust’s I/O: Reading and Manipulating CSV Data

Rust is a systems programming language that focuses on safety, performance, and concurrency. It provides excellent support for working with files and handling I/O operations. In this article, we’ll explore how to build a program in Rust that reads in a CSV file, performs operations such as sorting and filtering on the data, and writes the results to a new file.

Introducing CSV in Rust

To work with CSV files in Rust, we’ll use the csv crate, which provides a fast and flexible interface for reading and writing CSV data. In addition, we’ll use the serde crate for deserializing the CSV data into Rust structs. To include these crates in your project, add them to your Cargo.toml:

csv = "1.1"
serde = { version = "1.0", features = ["derive"] }

The CSV Data

For this example, let’s assume that we have a CSV file named data.csv with the following content:


We’ll build a Rust program that reads this CSV file, filters the records based on a given age threshold, sorts the results by the age column, and writes the output to a new CSV file.

Defining the Data Structure

First, we need to define a struct to represent the data in our CSV file:

use serde::Deserialize;

#[derive(Debug, Deserialize)]
struct Person {
    id: u32,
    name: String,
    age: u32,

impl Person {
    fn from_record(record: csv::StringRecord) -> Result<Self, csv::Error> {
        let person: Person = record.deserialize(None)?;

In this code, we define a Person struct with fields for id, name, and age. We derive the Deserialize trait from the serde crate, which allows us to deserialize CSV records directly into Person instances.

Reading the CSV File

Next, let’s create a function to read the CSV file and return a Vec<Person>:

use std::error::Error;
use std::fs::File;
use std::path::Path;

fn read_csv<P: AsRef<Path>>(path: P) -> Result<Vec<Person>, Box<dyn Error>> {
    let file = File::open(path)?;
    let mut reader = csv::Reader::from_reader(file);

    let mut persons: Vec<Person> = Vec::new();

    for result in reader.records() {
        let record = result?;
        let person = Person::from_record(record)?;


This function opens the given file, creates a csv::Reader to read the contents, and iterates over the records to deserialize them into Person instances. The function returns a Result<Vec<Person>, Box<dyn Error>>, allowing the caller to handle any errors that may occur.

Sorting and Filtering the Data

Now that we can read the CSV data into a Vec<Person>, we can implement the sorting and filtering operations. Let’s define a function that takes a slice of Person, an age threshold, and returns a new, sorted Vec<Person> that only includes people older than the given age:

fn filter_and_sort(persons: &[Person], age_threshold: u32) -> Vec<Person> {
    let mut filtered_persons: Vec<Person> = persons
        .filter(|person| person.age > age_threshold)

    filtered_persons.sort_by_key(|person| person.age);


This function uses Rust’s iterator methods to filter and sort the data. The filter method removes any Person with an age less than or equal to the age threshold, and the sort_by_key method sorts the remaining records by age.

Writing the Output CSV

Finally, let’s create a function to write the filtered and sorted data to a new CSV file:

use std::io::Write;

fn write_csv<P: AsRef<Path>>(persons: &[Person], path: P) -> Result<(), Box<dyn Error>> {
    let file = File::create(path)?;
    let mut writer = csv::Writer::from_writer(file);

    for person in persons {



This function creates a new CSV file, initializes a csv::Writer, and serializes the Person instances to the writer. It then flushes the writer to ensure that all data is written to disk.

Bringing It All Together

With all the necessary functions defined, we can now bring everything together in a main function to read in the CSV data, filter and sort it, and write the output to a new file:

use std::error::Error;
use std::fs::File;
use std::path::Path;

#[derive(Debug, serde::Deserialize, serde::Serialize)]
struct Person {
    name: String,
    age: u32,

fn main() -> Result<(), Box<dyn Error>> {
    let filename = "input.csv";
    let age_threshold = 30;

    let persons = read_csv(filename)?;
    let filtered_persons = filter_and_sort(&persons, age_threshold);
    write_csv(&filtered_persons, "output.csv")?;


This main function reads in the input CSV file, filters and sorts the data using the filter_and_sort function, and writes the output to a new CSV file using the write_csv function. It uses Rust’s error handling mechanisms to propagate any errors that occur during the execution of the program.

In summary, we have implemented a simple program in Rust to read in CSV data, filter and sort it based on a given age threshold, and write the output to a new CSV file. By using Rust’s strong type system and functional programming features, we can write concise and efficient code that is easy to reason about and maintain.

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