Small is Beautiful: the Design of Lua

Lua is a programming language developed at the Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro that came to be the leading scripting language in video games. Lua is also used extensively in embedded devices, such as set-top boxes and TVs, and other large applications like Adobe Lightroom, TeX, and Wikipedia.

Along the years, the design of Lua has kept simplicity and smallness among its main goals, within the restraints of a language with a large installed user base. In this talk we will discuss some aspects in the design of Lua, emphasizing the choices and tradeoffs involved in keeping the language simple and small.