Programmable IoT and Edge Controller With Lua

Why Use Lua in Embedded Systems?

Looking for an easy-to-learn programming language that helps you avoid common pitfalls like buffer overflows and memory leaks? Look no further than Lua! Similar to Python, this high-level language is perfect for embedded systems development, including running on microcontrollers.

One of the major benefits of using Lua is that it abstracts out the details of underlying microcontroller hardware, allowing developers to focus on the application-specific aspects of their projects. With Lua's handy Lua Server Pages (LSP) extension, you can also easily add IoT functionality and other advanced features to your projects.

Whether you're a seasoned pro or just starting out, Lua makes it simple to safely design network/protocol-related functionality and high-level logic. Start learning Lua today and take your development skills to the next level!

Lua is the only module in the Barracuda Application Server not developed by Real Time Logic. Lua is licensed under the terms of the MIT license and can therefore be used in any commercial product without any restrictions. See the Lua license for more information.

Learn How To Use Lua In Embedded Systems

Lua is a beginner-friendly coding language that is easy for C or C++ developers to learn. It is widely used in frameworks due to its user-friendly nature, and is even taught as a first language to children in programs like Roblox. This makes it an excellent choice for teams where not all members may be experienced with hard core C/C++ programming. The use of a high level language like Lua also allows non-expert developers to work safely with embedded system programming. Overall, learning Lua can be a great way for developers to expand their skills and capabilities.

New to Lua?

Get a quick introduction to Lua by following our Online Interactive Lua Tutorials

Lua MQTT 5 Stack

Is Lua too slow for resource constrained devices?

Contrary to popular belief, Lua is a highly efficient and fast language that is well-suited for use in embedded systems. Try it out for yourself and see the impressive results!

To get a sense of just how fast Lua can be, check out our speed test for the Lua-implemented MQTT 5 stack. We're confident that you'll be impressed with the performance of this versatile language.

Is Lua difficult to integrate in embedded systems?

The Barracuda App Server C code and our version of the Lua C library are designed for easy integration into embedded systems, providing an optional amalgamated version (one C file) that can be easily added to any IDE or Makefile.

Python vs. Lua

Python is a popular data science language and may be the king of the desktop, but Lua is a better choice for embedded systems, as it is designed specifically for easy integration into larger programs. It has a strong track record in the gaming industry, and is known for its speed and efficiency, making it a top choice when performance is a priority. Additionally, Lua is easy for Python developers to learn, as the two languages have many similarities.

Most programming languages have similar basic concepts such as variables, data types, loops, functions, etc. Once you understand these concepts, you can easily apply them to any language. However, learning the APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) specific to the language can be more challenging and time-consuming. To simplify the process of learning our APIs, we have dedicated significant resources to creating user-friendly IoT and web APIs with comprehensive documentation and a wealth of ready-to-use examples. This makes it easier for developers to quickly and effectively integrate these APIs into their projects, saving time and increasing efficiency.

Barracuda App Server adds the missing IoT batteries

The Barracuda App Server expands the functionality of the Lua language by offering a comprehensive set of IoT and web APIs, also known as "batteries" thus enabling developers to fully utilize the language in embedded devices. The provision of these IoT and web APIs simplifies the development process and allows developers to take advantage of the many benefits of using Lua in their projects.

How to Use Lua Efficiently

When using Lua, it is crucial to focus on its strengths, as this has been a critical factor in its popularity and success in the gaming industry. By utilizing its core capabilities, developers can leverage the full potential of the language and reap its benefits. The Barracuda App Server offers a unique approach by allowing developers to use C for real-time components and Lua to manage them. This creates a powerful combination that makes it easier to develop complex embedded systems with IoT and cloud connectivity. By using the best tools for the job, developers can ensure their projects are efficient, reliable, and effective, providing optimal results for their users.

Don't let doubts or concerns hold you back from using Lua in your design. Our team is here to support you and help you make the best decisions for your development projects. We welcome any questions you may have and are happy to have a friendly chat with you. Contact us today and let's work together to bring your project to success!

Using LSP for both Embedded Code and Web Applications

Lua Server Pages (LSP) is a powerful and flexible tool that was originally designed for server-side web development, but now provides much broader support for embedded and network-related programming. With our inovative LSP engine, it is easy to create your own custom programmable Lua powered edge controller using the Barracuda App Server.

At Real Time Logic, we have found that using Lua has greatly simplified our own development process and has allowed us to build complex protocol stacks more quickly. We have used Lua to expedite the development of a range of protocols, including:

Lua has allowed us to focus on delivering high-quality products and solutions to our customers, rather than spending unnecessary time and resources on low-level coding tasks. Whether you're working on a small-scale project or a large enterprise deployment, the use of Lua can help you streamline your development process and bring your products and solutions to market faster.

If you're interested in learning more about how Lua Server Pages (LSP) can be used to fast-track embedded web application development, we encourage you to read the article Lua fast-tracks embedded web application development. This article provides a detailed overview of how LSP works and how it can help you streamline your development process. In addition, we recommend reading the article What is an Embedded Application Server, which explains the difference between a web server and an application server and how they can be used in different scenarios. Finally, the article Rapid Firmware Development explores how Lua can be used to develop an IoT network client and the benefits it can offer in terms of speed and ease of use. These articles provide valuable insights into the capabilities and potential of LSP and Lua in the world of embedded and IoT development.

Download the Barracuda App Server for RTOS or Linux Now!


If you are using an RTOS and are looking for a cost-effective solution for building professional gateway products or developing a powerful edge and IoT foundation, consider using our ready to run Barracuda App Server build files for NXP's crossover MCUs. This ready to use project is super easy to use and can help you build high-quality, feature-rich applications and products quickly and easily. Alternatively, if you are just exploring and/or learning, check out our ready to use Barracuda App Server project for the ESP32 MCU, which includes ready to use Lua code for controlling servos and GPIOs. Regardless of which RTOS platform you choose, the Barracuda App Server will provide a strong foundation for your development efforts, helping you build reliable and scalable RTOS powered solutions that meet the needs of your organization.


Embedded Linux users can download our Mako Server. We provide ready to run binaries for many embedded platforms. You can also cross compile the code for your own device. See the tutorial Embedded Linux Web Interface Design for details.

Lua Debugger Screenshot

The Lua debugger makes it easy to develop and test Lua in embedded systems

Lua Server Pages Use Cases

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