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Lua bind for Objective-C, implemented most Objective-C features


  1. support for class-ivar, you can not access to ivar by name (for example, _ivarName) in method block
  2. full support of block, block is almost fully supported excepted some wired condition


  1. support most Objective-C syntax features, which is simillar to Objective-C progammers(such as @autoreleasepool);
  2. support lua syntax, so we may call this Objective-Lua;
  3. support new Objective-C syntax, such as literal NSDictionary, literal NSArray, literal NSNumber, syntax of literal NSDictionary is not the same as in Objective-C, consider the lua syntax;
  4. support enumerate syntax of collections (the for-in syntax);
  5. add some extensions, such as @array, @dictionary, @table to convert value between Objective-C and lua;
  6. speed up by store global value in a strong table in lua state, so updated the benchmark table below;

Known Bugs

  1. no try-catch-final, @throw implemented, but not that good, recommanded not to use this feature;
  2. will not support dot-operator (.) on instance, which is my decision;

What we know

  1. I have used this framework in one of my comercial project, it works well

  2. Benchmark test result on iPod Touch 4, software version: 5.1.1 :

    run +[NSString stringWithUTF8String:] 100,000 times, average cost

    NSInvocation 2.621619s
    libffi 1.007282s
    Lua-Call 12.943947s


    static const char * _testString = "你好";

            static void testInvocation()
               Method method = class_getClassMethod(objc_getMetaClass("NSString"), @selector(stringWithUTF8String:));
               const char *encoding = method_getTypeEncoding(method);
               NSMethodSignature *sig = [NSMethodSignature signatureWithObjCTypes: encoding];
               NSInvocation *invocation = [NSInvocation invocationWithMethodSignature: sig];
               [invocation setTarget: [NSString class]];
               [invocation setSelector: @selector(stringWithUTF8String:)];
               [invocation setArgument: (void*)&_testString
                               atIndex: 2];
               [invocation invoke];
               NSString *returnValue = nil;
               [invocation getReturnValue: &returnValue];
               //printf("returnValue: %s\n", [returnValue UTF8String]);
            static id _testIMP(id obj, SEL selector, const char \*aString)
               return [NSString stringWithUTF8String: aString];
            static void testFFI(void)
               Class metaClass = objc_getClass("NSString");
               SEL selector = @selector(stringWithUTF8String:);
               IMP impRef = class_getMethodImplementation(objc_getMetaClass("NSString"), selector);
               ffi_cif cif;
               ffi_type *argTypes[3];
               void *args[3];
               /* Initialize the argument info vectors */
               argTypes[0] = &ffi_type_pointer;
               argTypes[1] = &ffi_type_pointer;
               argTypes[2] = &ffi_type_pointer;
               args[0] = &metaClass;
               args[1] = &selector;
               args[2] = &_testString;
               /* Initialize the cif */
               if (ffi_prep_cif(&cif, FFI_DEFAULT_ABI, 3, &ffi_type_pointer, argTypes) == FFI_OK)
                     NSString *returnValue = nil;
                     ffi_call(&cif, FFI_FN(impRef), &returnValue, args);
                     //printf("returnValue: %s\n", [returnValue UTF8String]);
            static void testLuaCall(void)
                  static NSString * const sourceCode = @"local invoke = function() local a = [NSString stringWithUTF8String:\"你好\"] [a release] end\n"
                                      "testLuaCall = function() for i=1, 100000 do invoke() end end";
                  LuaCall(sourceCode, @"testLuaCall", nil, 0, 0, nil);

Example Code

1.Used in projects

function initialize(self)
local animationViews = [self animationViews];
local resourcePath = [[self resourceBasePath] stringByAppendingPathComponent: @"/1/"];
local sharedResourcePath = [[self resourceBasePath] stringByAppendingPathComponent: @"/Shared/"];
local imageFilePath = [resourcePath stringByAppendingPathComponent: @"textContent.png"];
local textContentImageView = [[UIImageView alloc] initWithImage: [UIImage imageWithContentsOfFile: imageFilePath]];
[textContentImageView setFrame: CGRectMake(40, 150, 397, 250)];
[self addSubview: textContentImageView];
[textContentImageView release];

			               [animationViews setObject: textContentImageView 
							                      forKey: @"textContentImageView"];
           function slideAnimationFunction(self)
		                  local animationViews = [self animationViews];
              			local titleView = [animationViews objectForKey: @"titleView"];
		                  local contentView = [animationViews objectForKey: @"contentImageView"];
		                  [UIView animateWithDuration: 0.5
						                       animations: (^()
											                           [titleView setAlpha: 1];
						                       completion: (^(BOOL finished)
											                           [contentView setAlpha: 1];