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Result and Option

In Rust, using Result and Option types is very common. If you've used fp-ts in Typescript, functional features in a language like Scala, or a strongly-typed functional language like Haskell, these should be familiar to you.

Both of these types are containers, or enum types. That is, they contain other values within variants.

If you're familiar with Algebraic Data types, it might be enough to say that these are effectively:

enum Option<T> {
// existence
None, // non-existence

enum Result<T, E> {
// success
Err(E), // failure


Result is an enum type, Result<T, E>, where both T and E are generics, representing success and failure. These are called like so:

  • Ok(T) - a Result container which has succeeded, containing T
  • Err(E) - a Result container which has failed, containing E

A result type is conceptually similar to an Either in other functional languages. Many contract entry points are typed Result<Response, ContractError>. In this case, Response is the Right or Success branch, while ContractError is the Left or failure case.

Result types are not just used in entry points and handlers, however.

They are often used in functions used to match enums, for example in execute entry points.

We can see in CW20-base that execute is typed Result<Response, ContractError>. Let's look at the function call in the first branch, which matches ExecuteMsg::Transfer.

execute_transfer(deps, env, info, recipient, amount)

We might expect the match branches to call functions that are typed the same as the entry point. And they are.

pub fn execute_transfer(
deps: DepsMut,
_env: Env,
info: MessageInfo,
recipient: String,
amount: Uint128,
) -> Result<Response, ContractError> {
if amount == Uint128::zero() {
return Err(ContractError::InvalidZeroAmount {});

let rcpt_addr = deps.api.addr_validate(&recipient)?;

|balance: Option<Uint128>| -> StdResult<_> {
|balance: Option<Uint128>| -> StdResult<_> { Ok(balance.unwrap_or_default() + amount) },

let res = Response::new()
.add_attribute("action", "transfer")
.add_attribute("from", info.sender)
.add_attribute("to", recipient)
.add_attribute("amount", amount);


It's also worth being aware of StdResult. This is used often in query handlers and functions that are called from them.

For example, in the nameservice contract you can see the StdResult, which is like Result, except without a defined error branch:

#[cfg_attr(not(feature = "library"), entry_point)]
pub fn query(deps: Deps, env: Env, msg: QueryMsg) -> StdResult<Binary> {
match msg {
QueryMsg::ResolveRecord { name } => query_resolver(deps, env, name),
QueryMsg::Config {} => to_binary(&config_read(,

Let's see the implementation of query_resolver.

fn query_resolver(deps: Deps, _env: Env, name: String) -> StdResult<Binary> {
let key = name.as_bytes();

let address = match resolver_read( {
Some(record) => Some(String::from(&record.owner)),
None => None,
let resp = ResolveRecordResponse { address };


The key takeaway here is that generally you can ignore container types, so long as they all line up. Once all your types are correct, your code will compile. Then you simply need to match or unwrap your container types correctly to work with the values contained within.


In Rust, there is no concept of nil or null, unlike most other mainstream programming languages. Instead, you have the Option type, which encodes the idea of existence or non-existence into a container type.

Option<T> is an enum type, with two variants:

  • Some(<wrapped-value>) - Some wraps an inner value, which can be accessed via .unwrap(). You will see this, as well as matching, all over rust code.
  • None - None

It's useful for doing things like expressing that a value might not exist for a key in a struct:

#[derive(Serialize, Deserialize, Clone, Debug, PartialEq, JsonSchema)]
pub struct Config {
pub purchase_price: Option<Coin>,
pub transfer_price: Option<Coin>,

The source is here. We can see why this might be - these values come from instantiation, where the values are also Option:

#[derive(Serialize, Deserialize, Clone, Debug, PartialEq, JsonSchema)]
pub struct InstantiateMsg {
pub purchase_price: Option<Coin>,
pub transfer_price: Option<Coin>,

In the Result examples above, we saw an example of Option usage. When we try and read the storage, there will either be a result, or nothing. To handle situations like this, it's common to use the match operator to pattern match the two cases:

let address = match resolver_read( {
Some(record) => Some(String::from( & record.owner)),
None => None,

In cases where None being returned would be an error state, convention dictates you should consider throwing an error instead of handling the None.