Howling at the Moon: Lua for C++ Programmers

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C++ is a great tool for solving complex problems in a thorough way. But every once in a while, the desire for a simpler language emerges. For those parts of our code where performance is of secondary concern, but the ability to perform rapid iterations over the code is paramount, a scripting language might be a tempting choice. But integrating a second language besides C++ and managing the interaction between the two is also scary. Lua is a lightweight, dynamic language that was designed to be used as an embedded language within existing applications. It is easy to learn, has very reasonable runtime performance, and a memory footprint small enough that it is usable even on embedded systems. Furthermore, it is almost trivial to integrate with C++. This talk will give a brief introduction to the Lua scripting language, highlighting specifically how it can complement C++'s language features to enrich a developer's toolbox. In the second part of the talk, we will look at Lua's C API and give suggestions how to integrate it with a modern C++17 codebase. In particular we will focus on how to interface with the dynamic language Lua without compromising the benefits of C++'s strong type system.



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