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Lua is a byte-code interpreted glue language with extensible semantics as a primary feature. Lua is considered lightweight and was designed for extending applications. Its predecessors are Smalltalk, Perl, Pascal, and AFNOR, as illustrated in Figure 1.6. Lua is considered an excellent language for rapid prototyping and scripting and is implemented in C.
Lua was developed at TeCGraf, the computer graphics technology group at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. The team credited with developing the language in 1994 includes Waldermar Celes, Roberto Ierusalimschy, and Luiz Henrique de Figueiredo. The language qualifies as open source but it is not in the public domain, and Tecgraf holds the copyright. Lua means moon in Portuguese.
Lua feature highlights include:
A simple Pascal-like syntax.
It is dynamically typed.
Automatic memory management and garbage collection,
Powerful data description constructs like associative arrays.
OOP mechanisms such as classes and inheritance.
User-controlled type constructors.
Fallbacks for extending the meaning of the language in unconventional ways.
Its programs are compiled into byte-code and then interpreted, simulating a virtual machine.
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