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Good Lua Book?

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Posted by Nick Cash   USA  (626 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Tue 18 Jan 2005 01:58 AM (UTC)
Message
Heh, as always I need to ask what books you all have so I know the good ones to buy. I've gotta get into Lua as well it seems :)

~Nick Cash
http://www.nick-cash.com
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Posted by David Haley   USA  (3,881 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #1 on Tue 18 Jan 2005 02:09 AM (UTC)
Message
http://www.lua.org/pil/index.html
http://www.lua.org/manual/5.0/

Only references I've ever used. The PIL book is a quick (but very thorough) introduction to the language and std. libs, and the manual is (you guessed it :P) a reference of the language.

Hmm, I think at one point I googled for a function implementing log-base-2, and found a link to the Lua users wiki pages.

David Haley aka Ksilyan
Head Programmer,
Legends of the Darkstone

http://david.the-haleys.org
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Posted by Nick Cash   USA  (626 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #2 on Tue 18 Jan 2005 02:26 AM (UTC)
Message
Hmmm, not buying a book on it? That just feels weird, but hey, I guess I'll save myself a little money :)

~Nick Cash
http://www.nick-cash.com
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Posted by David Haley   USA  (3,881 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #3 on Tue 18 Jan 2005 05:24 AM (UTC)
Message
If you really want to, you could buy PIL - I'm probably going to do so myself not so much for the book but as a contribution to the fabulous work they've done. Sometimes, it's also nicer to have a book to flip through - saves you that much screen real estate (assuming you have enough desk real estate... :P)

David Haley aka Ksilyan
Head Programmer,
Legends of the Darkstone

http://david.the-haleys.org
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Posted by Nick Cash   USA  (626 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #4 on Tue 18 Jan 2005 06:41 AM (UTC)
Message
I probably will end up buying the book. Sometimes having a book is just better then having it online, as my internet fails to travel with me (darn you internet of doom!). And if the money goes towards the further development of Lua then its a win win situation.

~Nick Cash
http://www.nick-cash.com
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Posted by Faux   United Kingdom  (77 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #5 on Tue 18 Jan 2005 02:40 PM (UTC)
Message
I've never understood books as programming references..

Probably the main thing I use refernces for is trying to get something that does `this`, or something in context. Both involve being able to search the reference, and the second involves getting the code to within reach of the compiler/interpreter.

Neither of these work with books :/

On the specific subject of Lua, I've picked nearly everything up either from the manual (http://www.lua.org/manual/5.0/), the Wiki (http://lua-users.org/wiki/), this forum or other similar references.. anything that Google will give me.

The best way to learn is, as always, by doing.. I tried porting some old php (mush) scripts to lua, at first the languages feel very different, but Lua has equiv. for most php syntaxes.


Faux, from Discworld. Feel free to come talk to me =)

http://faux.servebeer.com/
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Posted by David Haley   USA  (3,881 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #6 on Tue 18 Jan 2005 05:02 PM (UTC)
Message
Well, a (well-written) book has the advantage of presenting the material in an orderly fashion. I found the PIL book to be exceedingly useful in that regard: it was not a book to learn programming, it was a book for programmers to learn Lua.

So in that sense, the book isn't really a reference per se, it's more of an extended tutorial; of course, you can use it as a reference (and I do) - as for searching, well, there's always the good old index. :P

I agree that the best way to learn programming is by doing. That being said, books (be they online or on paper, doesn't really matter to me) provide the necessary discipline for not having gaps and holes in your knowledge - again, assuming the material is well-written. I've met and talked to a lot of self-taught programmers and often, despite having lots of experience and a fairly advanced level, there are little holes here and there. Most typically, C programmers have gaps in their fundamental understanding of what pointers and what they really are.

Annnnyway, all this to say that books can be useful as a general introduction and overview of a topic; one thing that bouncing around the searchable references definitely can't give you. I for one find it very irritating when the only documentation given you is a function (API) reference; that's not useful to me until I know how all these things fit together, what the intended design patterns are. Of course, once I know that, the function reference is incredibly useful.

David Haley aka Ksilyan
Head Programmer,
Legends of the Darkstone

http://david.the-haleys.org
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Posted by Greven   Canada  (835 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #7 on Tue 18 Jan 2005 05:45 PM (UTC)
Message
Books also provide one other advantage that online references don't: they are not online, meaning that when I have to sit on the bus for an hour to get to class or work I can still learn about a specific subject. I don't always have a computer available, so books are a great way to make that down time productive.

Nobody ever expects the spanish inquisition!

darkwarriors.net:4848
http://darkwarriors.net
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Posted by Nick Gammon   Australia  (21,322 posts)  [Biography] bio   Forum Administrator
Date Reply #8 on Thu 20 Jan 2005 10:32 PM (UTC)
Message
The "Programming in Lua" book by Roberto Ierusalimschy is very good. However it is much the same material as on the web site. Personally I find it handy to have the book open while you try things out, plus you are supporting the Lua development effort.

- Nick Gammon

www.gammon.com.au, www.mushclient.com
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