Chapter 12. Using Community Libraries

In Chapter 7, you learned how to modularize your Lua programs and why it's a good practice to do so. At the end of that chapter, you saw that you can write modules in languages like C as well as Lua. Throughout the remaining chapters of this book, the term library will refer to a collection of one or more routines that have been compiled from a lower-level language like C, C++ or Pascal. Depending on the context, a library may or may not have anything to do with Lua. A library that acts as an intermediary between Lua and another library is often called a binding.

This chapter extends the topic of libraries and how they interact with Lua. In it, you will become familiar with some libraries and bindings that have been made available to the open source community. The bindings cover a small cross-section of the many ways you can enhance Lua, including the following:

  • Structuring binary data

  • Constructing dynamic graphics

  • Transferring files with various Internet protocols

  • Interfacing with a relational database

Seeing how these libraries work with Lua should allow you to make use of a large number of other libraries. Plan on visiting the LuaForge site to see what's available. Chapter 13 will extend this topic to applications and libraries that you write yourself.

Library Overview

A library is a collection of routines and variables that can be linked to an executable program such as a web browser or the Lua interpreter. By providing a well-established interface ...

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