Lua is a programming language commonly used to extend, or add functionality, to software applications. It uses simple syntax (similar to C), allowing it to work with a number of other languages. Lua has a wide array of uses, but it is commonly used as an extension language for web applications and video games.

Lua is a scripting language, since the code can be parsed and run on-the-fly by an interpreter. However, like Python Lua code can also be compiled into an executable binary file. Pre-compiling a Lua script with the luac compiler can improve performance, so Lua code is often compiled when it is embedded in an existing program.

While Lua is designed to be simple and portable, it is also a highly capable language. Lua supports a wide variety of data types, including strings, floating point numbers, and arrays. It also includes many different operators for performing calculations, comparisons, and logic operations. Lua also supports functions, loops, and if-then statements. The language even includes garbage collection for automatic memory management.

Since Lua is relatively lightweight – meaning it does not use more system resources than necessary – it is an ideal language for performing basic tasks. For example, a programmer may code a video game in C++, but use Lua to manage the characters and objects within the game. The simplicity of Lua can make it easier to code individual aspects of a program without the overhead other languages require.

File extension: .LUA

Updated June 19, 2017 by Per C.

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