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This is a basic tutorial for the Nelua Programming Language, for running your first application.

Don’t have Nelua installed yet? Read the installing tutorial first.

Your first program

You can code in Nelua much like you would code in Lua. For example, a hello world program is written much like in Lua:

print 'Hello world'

This example is already in the repository as an example. First clone the language repository if you haven’t yet:

git clone git@github.com:edubart/nelua-lang.git
cd nelua-lang

Now you can run it:

nelua examples/helloworld.nelua 

When running it you should get an output that looks like this:

generated /home/user/nelua-lang/nelua_cache/examples/helloworld.c
gcc -o "/home/user/nelua-lang/nelua_cache/examples/helloworld" \
       "/home/user/nelua-lang/nelua_cache/examples/helloworld.c" \
       -Wall -lm -fwrapv -g
hello world

Note that the compiler has generated a file called helloworld.c. This is your program translated to C source code. If you know how to read C then I encourage you to open it and have a look. The compiler tries to generate efficient, compact, and readable C sources.

After the C source file is generated, GCC is invoked to compile the C sources, and then the program is executed.

If your machine does not have GCC, you can use another C compiler with the flag --cc. For example, if you are on MacOS, you probably want to use Clang. In that case do nelua --cc clang examples/helloworld.nelua. If you are on Windows, you probably want to use MinGW, so do nelua --cc x86_64-w64-mingw32-gcc examples/helloworld.nelua.

Syntax highlighting for editors

Syntax definitions for the language are available for Visual Studio Code with nelua-vscode and for Sublime Text with nelua-sublime. At the moment, only Sublime Text has a full definition, so I recommend using it. If you use another code editor you can use Lua syntax highlighting, as it very similar (but of course, incomplete).

I recommend using the syntax highlighter, as it makes the experience of playing around with the language more pleasant, since it can highlight type notations.

Language features

A quick tour of the language features can be found in the overview page, I highly recommend reading it if you haven’t yet.

More examples

As the language is being developed, this tutorial is quite short. However you can see and run more interesting examples of the language in the examples, benchmarks, or tests folders.

The most interesing examples are:

  • examples/fibonacci.nelua multiple implementations of the classic Fibonnaci sequence
  • examples/brainfuck.nelua use of metaprogramming to code the esoteric Brainfuck language
  • examples/snakesdl.nelua the classic Snake game (requires SDL)
  • examples/condots.nelua connected dots graphic animation made in parallel (requires SDL and OpenMP)

Overview »