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ethan (3163)

  reversethis-{ed. ... rap.nov.olissat}

Being a 25-year old chap living in the western-most town of Germany. Stuying communication and information science and being a huge fan of XS-related things.

Journal of ethan (3163)

Tuesday June 15, 2004
02:10 AM


[ #19254 ]

A few days ago I had the bright idea of writing an Inline module, just because I was curious how that would work. I chose a language that came to my mind quite spontaneously, partly because I remembered vaguely that it was a language meant to be embedded into other applications.

What I've seen so far of Lua is extremely impressive. The language is extremely clean and, despite offering only a handful of features and concept, very powerful. Some interesting things have been integrated into it quite well, such as coroutines and closures. The latter makes it feel a bit like a functional programming language with the very nice touch of an imperative syntax. It's even object-oriented.

Its C API is a bit confusing for me as of now. That is probably because I haven't yet written a single program in this language. But the Inline stuff already works quite well for some of the basic Lua/Perl types. The nice thing about Lua is that its types map quite well onto Perl. It knows about functions as a data type so a little bit of currying looks like this:

function foo (a)
    return function (b) return a * b end
io.write( foo(5)(3) )

Very neat! I have already some ideas how the inlined Lua functions can return Lua closures back to Perl as in

use Inline Lua;
print foo(5)->(3);
function foo (a)
    return function (b) return a * b end

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  • Just our of curiosity and never having heard of Lua [] before I checked it out on the scriptometer [], mentioned [] by Gnat [] on use.perl.

    It actually does quite well, with an overall score of 90 compared to Perl's 149
    • It actually does quite well, with an overall score of 90 compared to Perl's 149

      Yes, I also noticed this on the scriptometer. And one has to keep in mind that Lua is not even meant as a standalone language. It is intended to be fleshed out with customly defined C functions to provide additional functionality.

      This comparison [] made me stick to Lua. I was on the edge of dropping Inline::Lua again when things didn't work at all in the beginning. But then I saw that Lua appears to be quite performant for some
  • The first time I heard about Lua was when I participated in the redaction of The Year In Scripting Languages 2002 []. Lots of links there. It looks like a not well-known language but with a small and dynamic community.
    • This is probably due to the niche it fills. There appears to be no Lua newsgroup, only one mailinglist to which I had to subscribe to get some help yesterday. The list is active and the replies I got were prompt and competent.

      I haven't yet grokked the 'social structure' of this list but it appears that Lua's developers are there, too. It's odd in that both the people using Lua as a programming language and those more concerned with embedding Lua (and thus focussing on Lua's C API) can be found on the same