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While there are of course similarities between Erlang and Lua and you can use them to write the same types of applications they do have very different targets. Erlang was designed for large scale, massively concurrent, fault-tolerant systems that should never got down [1], which is not what Lua was designed for. So while you will find libraries that do the same thing in both languages it is probably not realistic to expect to be able to write Erlang type applications in Lua. I don't see this as a Lua deficiency, it is just a result of what the languages target.

That being said there are some unexpected similarities. For example while Lua is often described as a scripting language the way Erlang and Lua handle code is quite similar. Both compile code and allow code to be dynamically loaded without having to "relink" the whole system, though Erlang must do this in a concurrent environment. Both languages tend to be used in multi-lingual systems. I know of companies which use them together, Erlang as a form of concurrent, logical "glue" and business logic in Lua, plus other stuff in other languages. Most large systems are diverse so I personally think expecting to find one language which fits everything is unrealistic.


[1] Got the main buzzwords there.

From: "Jayanth Acharya" <>
To: "Lua mailing list" <>
Sent: Wednesday, 18 September, 2013 11:29:08 AM
Subject: Re: Why Lua is not more popular

On Wed, Sep 18, 2013 at 9:04 AM, H. Conrad Cunningham <> wrote:
I new to Lua since I wrote my first Lua program about two months ago. I am a computer science professor with interests in programming languages, software architecture/engineering, and concurrent/parallel programming. I am teaching a class in which we are using Lua to explore issues in multiparadigm programming and programming language design.

(1) Although having a wide variety of application libraries is not essential to what I am doing in my class, I find it difficult (as others have mentioned) to determine what libraries and tools are available and are good matches for particular purposes.

The only library I have tried to use is LPEG.  It works quite well, although I found some of the documentation difficult to decipher.

(2) A compilation of "best practices" or "good practices" or even "bad practices to avoid" would be helpful.  ...a Lua Cookbook?  Lua design patterns and idioms?

While I could be wrong, as I am a beginner myself, but I thought "Lua Gems" was one such book.
(3) Although the PiL is quite good, there do not seem to be many other examples or teaching materials available.

For example, I decided to begin my course with discussion of functional programming in the Lua context. Lua works reasonably for FP, but I do not find an abundance of good examples (from my perspective of a person who has taught Haskell and Scala). I am developing examples of my own or translating from other languages, but the process is more productive if a teacher can leverage an existing base of good examples.

Same here - quite interested in such material.Had a brush with Erlang 2 year back, and absolutely fell in love with the language (and the runtime). While I didn't keep in touch, but ever since my introduction to Lua, I've been looking at some intrinsic similarities, and also been trying to identify libraries that provide some similar functions as the Erlang runtime environment. I saw some key Erlang folks here on this list. I am hoping that they could provide some pointers.