Good News Everyone!
I took a few minutes today at work with a fresh Windows 10 VM to test LuaWinMake with the Visual Studio C++ Build Tools and can report success. All I had to do was open the "Visual Studio Developer Console", move the winmake.bat file into my Lua directory and type winmake.bat.
That means Lua can be built from standard Windows tools, with or without the Visual Studio IDE. The Build Tools includes the VC compiler and toolchain (1.75 GB) and the Windows 10 SDK (~2.6 GB). The only thin missing is a compatible build recipe with the lua source code.
To further my quest to improve Lua on Windows, I'll ask if it's possible for the Lua Team to include the LuaWinMake batch file with the source code in the next release? I understand that a Linux based team may not have the resources to maintain two or three VS Solution files, but hopefully including a single batch file could be considered?
To further my point, I'd say most people interested in programming on Windows will have some form of Visual Studio on their computer. That single batch file can open up Lua to a lot of developers that are turned away by the requirements for a GNU toolchain.
I was once a Windows only developer and I had to chase my tail trying to get into Lua. It was *infuriating* realizing that I couldn't build Lua when every other tool I had ever needed to compile worked just fine with VS. My initial response was "No official binary download and no way to build without learning GNU tools. F-that." I was fortunate that I had a friend that helped me through that and showed me how to get running.
The VC Build Tools download proves that there is a viable way to build and run Lua and LuaRocks without needing Visual Studio or GNU tools. It makes me bonkers to think that this little batch file could have saved me years of work (at night) and I might not have needed to start WinLua. I could have gone to a console, typed winmake.bat, installed LuaRocks, and moved on with Lua.
For all of us that enjoy using Lua on Windows (and all of those that are currently unable to build Lua on Windows), I hope you consider my request.
Thanks again for the great language. :)