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- Subject: Lua for large apps (was: Lua for GUI toolkit wrapping?)
- From: Ivan Kolev <ikolev@...>
- Date: Sun, 27 Sep 2009 20:01:13 +0300
Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of scripting languages and of Lua: I introduced Lua into my organization and continue to push its use. But I remain reluctant to use Lua for really large apps. Is my reluctance misplaced? Have others successfully developed and maintained large 100,000+ line apps in Lua?
I think you are quite right. I'm a big fan of Lua too, but I've failed with the first larger project I tried writing completely in Lua (less than 10K lines). Of course, I made mistakes, but I still think that large projects need every possible tool to remain reasonably maintainable and bug-free. Static typing and compile-time checks (including warnings to the max) are indispensable.
The alternative for dynamically typed languages are tests. A lot of them, as close to 100% coverage as possible. And you still can't be sure that your tests will catch any typo, or any misplaced function argument... something a compiler would always catch (OK, almost).
Of course, tests are needed just as much in static-typed languages, so you might decide that if you are certain to cover near 100% of your code with tests, then you as well might go with a scripting language... But I still don't know a large project which managed to do that. I don't say it's impossible, I hope it is, I even hope to try it some day.
Of course, tools like a powerful debugger, IDE, code explorer, etc. are also important and AFAIK Lua is a bit lacking there.