Send to Kindle
home » snippets » lua



There are eight basic types in Lua: nil, boolean, number, string, function, userdata, thread, and table. Nil is the type of the value nil

The type thread represents independent threads of execution and it is used to implement coroutines (see §2.11). Do not confuse Lua threads with operating-system threads. Lua supports coroutines on all systems, even those that do not support threads.

The type table implements associative arrays, that is, arrays that can be indexed not only with numbers, but with any value (except nil). Tables can be heterogeneous; that is, they can contain values of all types (except nil). Tables are the sole data structuring mechanism in Lua; they can be used to represent ordinary arrays, symbol tables, sets, records, graphs, trees, etc. To represent records, Lua uses the field name as an index. The language supports this representation by providing as syntactic sugar for a["name"]. There are several convenient ways to create tables in Lua (see §2.5.7).

Like indices, the value of a table field can be of any type (except nil). In particular, because functions are first-class values, table fields can contain functions. Thus tables can also carry methods (see §2.5.9).

Tables, functions, threads, and (full) userdata values are objects: variables do not actually contain these values, only references to them. Assignment, parameter passing, and function returns always manipulate references to such values; these operations do not imply any kind of copy.

The library function type returns a string describing the type of a given value.