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Programming in Lua Paperback – 5 Mar 2006

4.8 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Lua.org; 2 edition (5 Mar. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 8590379825
  • ISBN-13: 978-8590379829
  • Product Dimensions: 18.9 x 1.8 x 24.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 539,079 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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For a while I was looking for a way to make C/++ applications easier to write. Once I realised that Lua was such a powerful scripting language and all for the low low price of about 200kb and a liberal MIT license I was amazed!

The reference manual and Programming in Lua Volume 1 are available on line which is plenty to get you familiar with the basics. Once you've grasped those, YOU NEED THIS BOOK!

Its style is the same as PiL#1 which is to say comprehensive and well written. The author explains every bit of the language and makes clear what is essential and what is 'common practice'. He also provides useful tips on alternative (Lua-like) ways of doing things which don't always come naturally to C/++ programmers.

The first third deals with the basics of writing Lua scripts. The second third explains some more advanced ways of scripting along with the Lua standard libraries. The last third tends to deal integrating Lua into your own C/++ applications. For this last third, it is probably useful having a copy of the Lua source (also on line) and compiling in your own environment to experiment with some of the C API. Throughout the book there are regular annotations where something relevant has changed since 5.1.

The official Lua mailing list is also a very active list that's worth signing up for as well. The author actively participates in the list too.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a good introduction to the Lua Programming language (v5.1), and assumes you already know how to program in another language. It starts with the basics and goes on to quite an advanced level, but at all times it's clear and easy to understand. There are plenty of examples throughout. There aren't many books on Lua, so this one should definitely be on your bookshelf if you want to program in Lua 5.1.

There's quite a lot about how Lua can interact with C, so to get the most out of it you need to know C already. But if you don't know C and just want to use Lua as a scripting language, you'll still benefit from this book.

If you're interested in calling Lua from a C program (easy), or if you want to extend Lua's capabilities by writing your own C functions (harder), then this book will show you how to do it.
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I came across the Lua scripting language about 4 years ago and
fell in love with it. This book has the makings of a classic text that you will enjoy owning. Its so refreshing to find a well written, small book on a programming language with a huge power to weight ratio. The book covers all aspects of the language and acts as tutorial, reference and language specification. As a regular user of the AWK scripting language I would have appreciated better examples on how to acheive the AWK split() function but otherwise the book provides a large range of really useful code fragments. Congratulations to the author.
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It's hard to define the perfect "how to" book for someone getting to know a new programming languange. So much depends on the reader's experience and aims. "Programming in Lua" (aka "the PiL book") hits the spot for me. I'm an experienced software developer with a background in Smalltalk and Java, among others.

The author wastes no time with attempts at humour, but comes across as someone genuinely trying to give the reader the optimum learning experience. There is not a sentence that I would say is superfluous. At the same time, there are no points at which I would have wanted more explanation. Coding examples or snippets are used throughout.

I'm a great believer in learning by doing. My approach to reading the book is to have my Lua interpreter open at all times and, when there is something that I don't quite understand, to try it and some variations, or to write a slightly longer Lua script ("chunk") that includes additional print statements so I can see what's going on. Common sense, really.

The essential partner for this book is the Lua Reference Manual. I've referred to it often. Not because the PiL book is unclear, but out of curiosity and wanting to know a little more. That's not a criticism of the PiL book; if anything it's another plus: it encourages the reader to experiment. Another book to consider is "Lua Programming Gems"; I have it and can see it becoming a valuable additional Lua reference, as well as a source of inspiration.

Of the 300-odd pages in the PiL book, about 80 are directly related to using Lua with C. I'm not a C programmer, but I may find these chapters of use if I need to interface with existing C libraries. That still leaves a rich source of Lua knowledge, particularly given the concise writing style of the author.

The PiL book contains a wealth of wisdom and insight into Lua, written in a style that gets the information across with the minimum of fuss. Recommended.
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A very clearly written and concise book, which is something of a rarity in these days of monster tomes full of words and little information! I'm using Lua to extend a number of applications, and am using this book to help me figure-out how to do it. Highly recommended.
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Excellent clarity and thoughtful ordering of topics presented make this a "must have" buy for anyone even remotely interested in Lua ver 5.1.x/5.2.

Even if you're only interested in the 5.1 interpreter/JIT series then get this edition, as all differences from 5.1->5.2 are highlighted as presented.

And even if you're not interested in computer programming (!) then lend this book to a native English speaking author/writer and watch them become ashamed...
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