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.\" $Id: luac.man,v 1.28 2006/01/06 16:03:34 lhf Exp $
.TH LUAC 1 "$Date: 2006/01/06 16:03:34 $"
.SH NAME
luac \- Lua compiler
.SH SYNOPSIS
.B luac
[
.I options
] [
.I filenames
]
.SH DESCRIPTION
.B luac
is the Lua compiler.
It translates programs written in the Lua programming language
into binary files that can be later loaded and executed.
.LP
The main advantages of precompiling chunks are:
faster loading,
protecting source code from accidental user changes,
and
off-line syntax checking.
.LP
Pre-compiling does not imply faster execution
because in Lua chunks are always compiled into bytecodes before being executed.
.B luac
simply allows those bytecodes to be saved in a file for later execution.
.LP
Pre-compiled chunks are not necessarily smaller than the corresponding source.
The main goal in pre-compiling is faster loading.
.LP
The binary files created by
.B luac
are portable only among architectures with the same word size and byte order.
.LP
.B luac
produces a single output file containing the bytecodes
for all source files given.
By default,
the output file is named
.BR luac.out ,
but you can change this with the
.B \-o
option.
.LP
In the command line,
you can mix
text files containing Lua source and
binary files containing precompiled chunks.
This is useful to combine several precompiled chunks,
even from different (but compatible) platforms,
into a single precompiled chunk.
.LP
You can use
.B "'\-'"
to indicate the standard input as a source file
and
.B "'\--'"
to signal the end of options
(that is,
all remaining arguments will be treated as files even if they start with
.BR "'\-'" ).
.LP
The internal format of the binary files produced by
.B luac
is likely to change when a new version of Lua is released.
So,
save the source files of all Lua programs that you precompile.
.LP
.SH OPTIONS
Options must be separate.
.TP
.B \-l
produce a listing of the compiled bytecode for Lua's virtual machine.
Listing bytecodes is useful to learn about Lua's virtual machine.
If no files are given, then
.B luac
loads
.B luac.out
and lists its contents.
.TP
.BI \-o " file"
output to
.IR file ,
instead of the default
.BR luac.out .
(You can use
.B "'\-'"
for standard output,
but not on platforms that open standard output in text mode.)
The output file may be a source file because
all files are loaded before the output file is written.
Be careful not to overwrite precious files.
.TP
.B \-p
load files but do not generate any output file.
Used mainly for syntax checking and for testing precompiled chunks:
corrupted files will probably generate errors when loaded.
Lua always performs a thorough integrity test on precompiled chunks.
Bytecode that passes this test is completely safe,
in the sense that it will not break the interpreter.
However,
there is no guarantee that such code does anything sensible.
(None can be given, because the halting problem is unsolvable.)
If no files are given, then
.B luac
loads
.B luac.out
and tests its contents.
No messages are displayed if the file passes the integrity test.
.TP
.B \-s
strip debug information before writing the output file.
This saves some space in very large chunks,
but if errors occur when running a stripped chunk,
then the error messages may not contain the full information they usually do.
For instance,
line numbers and names of local variables are lost.
.TP
.B \-v
show version information.
.SH FILES
.TP 15
.B luac.out
default output file
.SH "SEE ALSO"
.BR lua (1)
.br
http://www.lua.org/
.SH DIAGNOSTICS
Error messages should be self explanatory.
.SH AUTHORS
L. H. de Figueiredo,
R. Ierusalimschy and
W. Celes
.\" EOF
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