Coding guidelines

For the most part, Wasmtime and Cranelift follow common Rust conventions and pull request (PR) workflows, though we do have a few additional things to be aware of.


All PRs must be formatted according to rustfmt, and this is checked in the continuous integration tests. You can format code locally with:

$ cargo fmt

at the root of the repository. You can find more information about rustfmt online too, such as how to configure your editor.

Minimum Supported rustc Version

Wasmtime and Cranelift support the latest three stable releases of Rust. This means that if the latest version of Rust is 1.72.0 then Wasmtime supports Rust 1.70.0, 1.71.0, and 1.72.0. CI will test by default with 1.72.0 and there will be one job running the full test suite on Linux x86_64 on 1.70.0.

Some of the CI jobs depend on nightly Rust, for example to run rustdoc with nightly features, however these use pinned versions in CI that are updated periodically and the general repository does not depend on nightly features.

Updating Wasmtime's MSRV is done by editing the rust-version field in the workspace root's Cargo.toml

Dependencies of Wasmtime

Wasmtime and Cranelift have a higher threshold than default for adding dependencies to the project. All dependencies are required to be "vetted" through the cargo vet tool. This is checked on CI and will run on all modifications to Cargo.lock.

A "vet" for Wasmtime is not a meticulous code review of a dependency for correctness but rather it is a statement that the crate does not contain malicious code and is safe for us to run during development and (optionally) users to run when they run Wasmtime themselves. Wasmtime's vet entries are used by other organizations which means that this isn't simply for our own personal use. Wasmtime additionally uses vet entries from other organizations as well which means we don't have to vet everything ourselves.

New vet entries are required to be made by trusted contributors to Wasmtime. This is all configured in the supply-chain folder of Wasmtime. These files generally aren't hand-edited though and are instead managed through the cargo vet tool itself. Note that our supply-chain/audits.toml additionally contains entries which indicates that authors are trusted as opposed to vets of individual crates. This lowers the burden of updating version of a crate from a trusted author.

When put together this means that contributions to Wasmtime and Cranelift which update existing dependencies or add new dependencies will not be mergeable by default (CI will fail). This is expected from our project's configuration and this situation will be handled one of a few ways:

Note that this process is not in place to prevent new dependencies or prevent updates, but rather it ensures that development of Wasmtime is done with a trusted set of code that has been reviewed by trusted parties. We welcome dependency updates and new functionality, so please don't be too alarmed when contributing and seeing a failure of cargo vet on CI!

cargo vet for Contributors

If you're a contributor to Wasmtime and you've landed on this documentation, hello and thanks for your contribution! Here's some guidelines for changing the set of dependencies in Wasmtime:

  • If a new dependency is being added it might be worth trying to slim down what's required or avoiding the dependency altogether. Avoiding new dependencies is best when reasonable, but it is not always reasonable to do so. This is left to the judgement of the author and reviewer.

  • When updating dependencies this should be done for a specific purpose relevant to the PR-at-hand. For example if the PR implements a new feature then the dependency update should be required for the new feature. Otherwise it's best to leave dependency updates to their own PRs. It's ok to update dependencies "just for the update" but we prefer to have that as separate PRs.

Dependency additions or updates require action on behalf of project maintainers so we ask that you don't run cargo vet yourself or update the supply-chain folder yourself. Instead a maintainer will review your PR and perform the cargo vet entries themselves. Reviewers will typically make a separate pull request to add cargo vet entries and once that lands yours will be added to the queue.

cargo vet for Maintainers

Maintainers of Wasmtime are required to explicitly vet and approve all dependency updates and modifications to Wasmtime. This means that when reviewing a PR you should ensure that contributors are not modifying the supply-chain directory themselves outside of commits authored by other maintainers. Otherwise though to add vet entries this is done through one of a few methods:

  • For a PR where maintainers themselves are modifying dependencies the cargo vet entries can be included inline with the PR itself by the author. The reviewer knows that the author of the PR is themself a maintainer.

  • PRs that "just update dependencies" are ok to have at any time. You can do this in preparation for a future feature or for a future contributor. This more-or-less is the same as the previous categories.

  • For contributors who should not add vet entries themselves maintainers should review the PR and add vet entries either in a separate PR or as part of the contributor's PR itself. As a separate PR you'll check out the branch, run cargo vet, then rebase away the contributor's commits and push your cargo vet commit alone to merge. For pushing directly to the contributor's own PR be sure to read the notes below.

Note for the last case it's important to ensure that if you push directly to a contributor's PR any future updates pushed by the contributor either contain or don't overwrite your vet entries. Also verify that if the PR branch is rebased or force-pushed, the details of your previously pushed vetting remain the same: e.g., versions were not bumped and descriptive reasons remain the same. If pushing a vetting commit to a contributor's PR and also asking for more changes, request that the contributor make the requested fixes in an additional commit rather than force-pushing a rewritten history, so your existing vetting commit remains untouched. These guidelines make it easier to verify no tampering has occurred.

Policy for adding cargo vet entries

For maintainers this is intended to document the project's policy on adding cargo vet entries. The goal of this policy is to not make dependency updates so onerous that they never happen while still achieving much of the intended benefit of cargo vet in protection against supply-chain style attacks.

  • For dependencies that receive at least 10,000 downloads a day on it's ok to add an entry to exemptions in supply-chain/config.toml. This does not require careful review or review at all of these dependencies. The assumption here is that a supply chain attack against a popular crate is statistically likely to be discovered relatively quickly. Changes to main in Wasmtime take at least 2 weeks to be released due to our release process, so the assumption is that popular crates that are victim of a supply chain attack would be discovered during this time. This policy additionally greatly helps when updating dependencies on popular crates that are common to see without increasing the burden too much on maintainers.

  • For other dependencies a manual vet is required. The cargo vet tool will assist in adding a vet by pointing you towards the source code, as published on, to be browsed online. Manual review should be done to ensure that "nothing nefarious" is happening. For example unsafe should be inspected as well as use of ambient system capabilities such as std::fs, std::net, or std::process, and build scripts. Note that you're not reviewing for correctness, instead only for whether a supply-chain attack appears to be present.

This policy intends to strike a rough balance between usability and security. It's always recommended to add vet entries where possible, but the first bullet above can be used to update an exemptions entry or add a new entry. Note that when the "popular threshold" is used do not add a vet entry because the crate is, in fact, not vetted. This is required to go through an [[exemptions]] entry.