Using serde's deserialize_with to handle custom strings 03 Aug 2020

I stumbled across a crate which implemented string parsing that I wished to incorporate into some of my deserialization code. Unfortunately the crate in question, cron does not implement the #[derive(Deserialize)] macro on its Schedule, so I needed to fiddle with one of serde’s “field attributes” in order to move forward: deserialize_with.

Below is an example of my code, which was inspired by this comment I stumbled across on GitHub:

use serde::de::{Deserialize, Deserializer};
use std::str::FromStr;

#[serde(rename_all = "camelCase")]
pub struct Trigger {
    #[serde(deserialize_with = "deserialize_cron_schedule")]
    cron: cron::Schedule,

fn deserialize_cron_schedule<'de, D>(deserializer: D) -> Result<cron::Schedule, D::Error>
where D: Deserializer<'de> {
    let buf = String::deserialize(deserializer)?;


I won’t bother to explain what’s going on here, because I don’t understand much of it anyways. But the gist is that String::deserialize gets us a String to work with, which can then be passed along to the “real” parsing code.

I hope this code snippet helps, I know it will sure make deserializing certain types of strings in my serde types much easier!