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An implementation of tnetstrings in Lua 5.1

Install Instructions

Easiest method is to use luarocks and the provided rockspec.

For the latest stable release (1.1.0)

$ sudo luarocks install

For the latest from the repository.

$ sudo luarocks install

Getting it into your codes

-- Note that you *must* store the return value of require, we don't put
-- anything in the global environment.
local tns = require 'tnetstrings'



A sentinel used to represent the tns null value. We need this since nil in Lua is equivalent to no value whereas null is a tns value representing no value.

tns.parse(data, [expected], [offset])

Takes a data string and returns a single tns value from it as well as the index where it finished consuming data. Optionally using an offset into the data as a start position.

In case of parsing errors, or if the expected type does not match the type found, then the function returns nil followed by an error message. For simplicities sake, the expected type is given as a tns string type code.


Dumps the given value and returns its tns representation as a string. Unlike the parse method, we abort on errors rather than returning an error message. Supported types are:

  • boolean
  • number
  • string
  • table - If # is non-zero for your table it will be treated as an array. be wary of tables with holes as usual. (especially since we will error in that case, there is no automatic nil to null conversion)
  • tns.null


tnetstrings implementation in Lua




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