Lua for MUD development was Re: [vworld-tech] Modern MUD server design

Brian Hook hook_l at
Tue Apr 26 20:51:53 PDT 2005

A little followup now from my Lua notes. 

> As mentioned here before, along with Pike and Lua, it sounds like
> JavaScript is a reasonable language as well (and Ruby and I'm sure
> a couple others, but I don't have experience with those).

I said this back when I thought that I wanted the language to be 
embeddable and still have a lot of the core written in C/C++.  I've 
since changed my mind and have decided that I'd rather have the server 
written in a higher level language and only call out to C/C++ when 
absolutely necessary.

> Lua does not have user defined types, i.e. there are no "class"
> declarations a la C++, Java or Pike.  It's prototype based like
> JavaScript or Self, which means that you "derive" from another
> object by simply copying that object and adding new properties.

...and, this sucks. =)

> it). You never have to declare variables, they're automatically
> created on use, same with properties.

...and, this sucks too.

> Lua is small and very fast, however in many situations Pike is much
> faster.  

I would really, really like to use Pike or Obj-C, but their Windows 
support is crappy at best. 

> Lua has a thriving community

Relatively speaking.  It's thriving compared to, say, io or D, but not 
nearly as vibrant as Python.

> to embed (although I'm coming around to believing that writing
> everything in the script language and calling to C occasionally is
> preferable).

Oh, hey, I guess I said that a year ago.

> There are many support libraries, however not nearly as much as
> Pike or Python or Ruby.  But if you just need SQL and sockets and
> basic things like that, those are all available.

The lack of up to date and somewhat sanctioned support libraries is a 
serious issue for me.  One of the advantages of using a high level 
language is that I don't have to integrate a bunch of low-level 
libraries for sockets, database integration, regex, etc.  Lua has very 
sporadic support for a lot of things, a lot of it third-party from the 
Lua folk themselves, and this is a liability.

> The nightmarish side of all this is in my previously mentioned
> article, which is that the following things conspire against
> writing robust code:
> - variables do not need to be declared
> - table elements do not need to be declared
> - variables are created on assignment, with default global scope
> Minor typos can mask bugs for a long, long time unless you have
> really good code coverage analysis happening.

All of the above really made Lua unfeasible when the code base got 
beyond a few thousand lines.  Things got REAL rickety, and without a 
proper debugger/editor (I use Eclipse + PyDev for Python) it just 
wasn't tenable.

So now I'm a Python whore, but I'm still just learning it.


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