Lua Documentation

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Reference manual

The official definition of the Lua language is its reference manual, which describes the syntax and the semantics of Lua, the standard libraries, and the C API.

The reference manual for Lua 5.2 is available online in English and in Portuguese.

The reference manual for Lua 5.1 is available online in English and has been translated into Portuguese, Spanish, Russian, Hungarian, and German. It is also available as a book in English.

Technical documentation

For more technical information, see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and some old seminar slides. For detailed technical information on specific topics, see our old series of Lua Technical Notes and the wiki at lua-users.org, specially the tutorial. You may also browse the source code.

Papers

There are many papers and theses related to Lua. Here are the main ones written by the Lua team. See also the LabLua publications.

The main academic paper about Lua discusses the philosophy behind its design:

Lua - an extensible extension language by R. Ierusalimschy, L. H. de Figueiredo, W. Celes,
Software: Practice & Experience 26 #6 (1996) 635–652. [doi]

This paper was awarded the first prize (technological category) in the II Compaq Award for Research and Development in Computer Science in 1997. This award was a joint venture of Compaq Computer in Brazil, the Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology, and the Brazilian Academy of Sciences.

For a recent short exposition of the API design, see

Passing a language through the eye of a needle by R. Ierusalimschy, L. H. de Figueiredo, W. Celes,
ACM Queue 9 #5 (May 2011) 20–29. [doi]

For details on the implementation of Lua, see

The implementation of Lua 5.0 by R. Ierusalimschy, L. H. de Figueiredo, W. Celes,
Journal of Universal Computer Science 11 #7 (2005) 1159–1176. [jucs · slides]

For a complete history of Lua till 2006, see

The evolution of Lua by R. Ierusalimschy, L. H. de Figueiredo, W. Celes,
Proceedings of ACM HOPL III (2007) 2-1–2-26. [doi · slides]

For a history of Lua till 2001, see

The evolution of an extension language: a history of Lua by R. Ierusalimschy, L. H. de Figueiredo, W. Celes,
Proceedings of V Brazilian Symposium on Programming Languages (2001) B-14–B-28. [ps]

The first paper describing Lua has some historical interest:

The design and implementation of a language for extending applications by L. H. de Figueiredo, R. Ierusalimschy, W. Celes,
Proceedings of XXI Brazilian Seminar on Software and Hardware (1994) 273–283. [ps]

For an early expository article, see

Lua: an extensible embedded language by L. H. de Figueiredo, R. Ierusalimschy, W. Celes,
Dr. Dobb's Journal 21 #12 (Dec 1996) 26–33. [ddj]

For a recent introductory text (in Portuguese), see

Uma introdução à programação em Lua by R. Ierusalimschy, JAI 2009 (Jul 2009).

Books

Lua books are available at the main online stores, such as the Lua Bookstore at Amazon, or as e-books at Feisty Duck. When you buy a copy of a book published by Lua.org, you help to support the Lua project.

Reference manual

The official definition of the Lua language:

Lua 5.1 Reference Manual by R. Ierusalimschy, L. H. de Figueiredo, W. Celes, Lua.org, August 2006
ISBN 8590379833

Programming in Lua

A detailed and authoritative introduction to all aspects of Lua programming, by Lua's chief architect:

Programming in Lua by Roberto Ierusalimschy
Lua.org, third edition, January 2013
ISBN 859037985X
(also available as e-book)

The third edition is aimed at Lua 5.2. The first edition was aimed at Lua 5.0 and is available online; it is still largely relevant.

The second edition remains relevant and is available in German, Korean, Chinese, and Japanese:

Programmieren mit Lua von Roberto Ierusalimschy
Open Source Press, September 2006
ISBN 3937514228

Programming in Lua by Roberto Ierusalimschy
Insight, June 2007
ISBN 9788991268302

Programming in Lua by Roberto Ierusalimschy
Publishing House of Electronic Industry, May 2008
ISBN 9787121061875

Programming in Lua by Roberto Ierusalimschy
ASCII Media Works, Aug 2009
ISBN 9784048677974

Lua Programming Gems

A collection of articles recording some of the existing wisdom and practice on how to program well in Lua:

Lua Programming Gems edited by L. H. de Figueiredo, W. Celes, R. Ierusalimschy, Lua.org, December 2008
ISBN 9788590379843
(also available as e-book)

Other books

There are also books about Lua written by other authors:


Last update: Wed Mar 12 08:56:05 BRT 2014