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Showing 1-10 of 79 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 109 reviews
on January 30, 2013
If you are new to Lua, then you don't have this book. If you are not new to the language, then you already have it!

Everyone approaching Lua should start with this essential tool as it is, by far, the most efficient and authoritative way to truly understand Lua and its C-API, which is the key to Lua's ability to integrate with system languages. Written as though K&R were in the room, it has just the right amount of instructive insight and tutorials to bring context, without making it hard to actually find what you need to know. You will wear this book out.

In the Third Edition, lessons were added to the end of each chapter. Many of the lessons are actually open-ended questions, such as "Why is the elseif statement more important in Lua, than it might be in other languages?" These lend to a great deal of understanding that I found very helpful.

Other lessons and examples highlight how somethings are accomplished in Lua, which might be a specialized feature found in another, more complicated language. Here, I found myself learning about the language, gaining an appreciation of its design, as well as insights into being productive with the it.

It's not a huge book, but every section was very dense with knowledge and even after 2 years of playing around with Lua, I found it enjoyable and well worth my time to go through this new edition.

Some Editorializing on Lua:

Lua is best thought of as an implementation and a language. As a language, it is very small, yet it contains some very compact and powerful semantic constructs that you might not expect. That is, Lua is smaller than Visual Basic, yet it has coroutines, first class functions, closures and some wonderfully done meta-programming features.

However, these merits might just be my personal taste. There are other great languages out there, although it's worth noting that, after you remove the section on the C-API, Programming in Lua is roughly the same size as JavaScript The Good Parts. :)

Perhaps the feature that deserves the most attention is Lua's implementation, which is focused on its first design goal: an accessible, embeddable scripting language. Lua includes a very clean API written for C, which provides very efficient, controlled and seamless access to and from Lua. It is unique and it is also why, in spite of it being a language less known in web development circles, Mediawiki chose it for their templating system.

Finally, Lua is maintained by a small team, in PUC-Rio, a University in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, that knows how to say "no." They keep the garden tended and pull the weeds, and otherwise keep Lua small and beautiful.

As a result, programming in Lua and working with its implementation is pleasant. Maybe that's the most informative thing that might be said: When I use Lua, I'm having fun.

So... buy the book? :)
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on April 27, 2016
First, this is a book on how to write programs in Lua ... not how to write programs. If you do not know how to program at all then this book is not for you.

That all said, this book covers everything that a practicing software developer needs to know about Lua -- from programming style to idioms for doing certain tasks, to syntax details, library APIs, and so on. Since the author is also one of the architects and developers of the language, there is a good amount of "why" as well as the "what" that most other books have.
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on January 29, 2013
Lua is a great embeddable programming language with a small memory footprint and powerful yet simple semantics and syntax which is also very fast (lot faster than Perl and Python.). I have been using Lua (and LuaJIT) professionally and for personal projects since 2006. Out of many books 'Programming in Lua' by Roberto is the best language manual about Lua. Reminds me of K&R 'Programming in C'. Very well written, concise, precise and accurate. If you are programming in Lua or interested in Lua in the future this book is MUST HAVE. The third edition covers the recently released Lua-5.2.
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on January 26, 2013
This book is considered THE primary resource for learning to program in Lua, as long as you are not new to programming in general! The additional material in this new edition makes it even more effective and useful for those with a somewhat limited programming background, although still not a book for complete beginners to programming in general. I would suggest for newcomers to programming wanting to use Lua to get both this book and "Beginning Programming with Lua." In fact, I feel this is a good combo for many, myself included. Be aware that this 3rd edition of PiL, as this book is known in the Lua community, targets Lua 5.2, and the other book recommended targets Lua 5.1. The versions are quite similar but you need to be aware of the differences. This book is careful in pointing out to the reader these differences, as version 5.1 is still widely used.
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on November 7, 2014
This is a lot better option than trying to learn about Lua using free resources on the Internet. Firstly, it is up-to-date with the latest version of Lua (5.2) at this time. I banged my head against online examples full of deprecated function calls that wouldn't work. Once I had this book, I was no longer wasting my time with out-dated examples.

The book is very thorough and I appreciate the attention that went into the sections on writing C applications that invoke Lua code and on writing Lua applications that invoke C libraries.

I took away a star because I felt a lot of the "stack" counting concepts could benefit from a simple graphic here or there and they didn't bother to make any; you just have to study the text and the examples until the stack indexing clicks in your head.

Overall, a great book for anyone programming in Lua.
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on February 5, 2013
The book is just what you need, no matter you program in Lua for a long time or you just need something to start programming in it. It starts with basics and evolves deep into most advanced topics of language. My interest in this book was mostly to read about changes from version 5.1 to 5.2, especially C API part. And i got what i expected. I'd recommend this book to anyone who use or plan to use the Lua language. The overall quality and completeness of the feed of information in book is fine. Roberto Ierusalimschy is one of Lua authors, so it's no wonder. I use Lua in my projects and it's very extensive and delightful experience. Recommended!
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on January 16, 2017
Recommended by many as the go-to book for learning lua. I had to come up to speed in this language quickly for a project, and found this book very readable and useful.
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on October 3, 2016
Beginning to learn Lua for my IoT projects. I just got the book today and it models the style of Programming in C by Kernighan and Ritchie, beginning with simple, easy to understand examples. Looks good and I'm glad I ordered it!
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on February 3, 2013
I own all the 3 paper editions of Roberto's PIL, and I was never disappointed by any of them, Nevertheless, IMHO the quality of the 2nd and of the new 3rd edition are somewhat above that of the first edition.

The structure of the recent 3rd edition follows that of the "classic" of programming: "The C Programming Language", written by Brian Kernighan and Dennis Ritchie many years ago. A short introductory chapter describing Lua at large is followed by 30 chapters focusing specific areas. The first 10 chapters are about the essential aspects of Lua, but include more "advanced" issues such as iterators and coroutines. The next 7 chapters are about data structures and OO programming. Another 7 chapters describe Lua's standard libraries, and the last 8 chapters are about Lua's C API and discuss more advanced issues such as threads ans memory management. Many examples and case studies are spread all over the book.

The book has about 350 pages, what is still acceptable as a "bed lecture". Several chapters are a bit short (e.g., the one describing Lua's mathematical library, which essentially is the C standard math library, could have spent half a dozen more pages.) The 3rd edition has about 50 more pages than the 2nd; includes end-of-the-chapter exercises and reflects changes in Lua from version 5.1 to 5.2 (environments/global variables, extended coroutines, bit operations library,...). Overall it is a more polished work than the 2nd edition, and is a very inexpensive book (24 bucks today...), certainly due to Roberto's option of self-publishing. This option doesn't affect the quality: despite having already read a big chunk of the book, I didn't found noticeable typos or errors.

A must have book for Lua lovers.
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on September 3, 2013
This is one of the printed gems that every software engineer should have.

I would argue to read this book even if you do not work with Lua everyday (like me). This book covers many interesting areas about embedded languages in general: e.g. communication between garbage-collected languages vs non-garbage collected.

It also has excellent cover for many interesting Lua features e.g. coroutines.

I would compare this book with K&R C book. Both cover their languages but both these books are more than just manuals. They have its own spirit.
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