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0.1.4 • Public • Published

Build Status npm License: MIT #fengari on Freenode Code Quality: Javascript Total Alerts



🐺 φεγγάρι - The Lua VM written in JS ES6 for Node and the browser

This repository contains the core fengari code (which is a port of the Lua C library) which includes parser, virtual machine and base libraries. However it is rare to use this repository directly.

  • To use fengari in a web browser as easily as you might use JavaScript, see fengari-web
  • fengari-interop is a lua library that makes interoperating with JavaScript objects simple, it is already included in fengari-web.
  • For a clone of the lua command line tool, but running under node.js, see fengari-node-cli


Once you've loaded fengari, you can use the JS API:

const luaconf  = fengari.luaconf;
const lua      = fengari.lua;
const lauxlib  = fengari.lauxlib;
const lualib   = fengari.lualib;
const L = lauxlib.luaL_newstate();
lua.lua_pushliteral(L, "hello world!");

The JS API is exactly the same as the C API so fengari.lua exposes the same constants and functions as lua.h, fengari.lauxlib the same as lauxlib.h and fengari.lualib the same as lualib.h. If you're unfamiliar with the C API, you can take a look at the manual.


Fengari implements Lua 5.3 semantics and will hopefully follow future Lua releases. If you find any noticeable difference between Fengari and Lua's behaviours, please report it.


Lua strings are 8-bits clean and can embed \0. Which means that invalid UTF-8/16 strings are valid Lua strings. Lua functions like string.dump even use strings as a way of storing binary data.

To address that issue, Fengari uses Uint8Array objects containing the raw bytes to implement lua strings. To push a JS string on the stack you can use lua_pushliteral which will convert it to an array of bytes before pushing it. To get a Lua string on the stack as a JS string you can use lua_tojsstring which will attempt to convert it to a UTF-16 JS string. The latter won't give you what you expect if the Lua string is not a valid UTF-16 sequence. You can also convert strings with luastring_of, to_luastring, to_jsstring and to_uristring.


The JS number type is always a double, and hence cannot accurately represent integers with more than 53 bits. As such, we've taken the route of a rarely used define (LUA_INT_TYPE=LUA_INT_LONG) in the PUC-Rio sources, where floats are doubles, but integers are 32 bits.

require and package.loadlib

In the browser require and package.loadlib try to find a file by making synchronous XHR requests.

require has been extended to allow searchers to yield.

Missing features

  • lua_gc/collectgarbage: Fengari relies on the JS garbage collector and does not implement its own.
  • The following functions are only available in Node:
    • The entire io lib
    • os.remove
    • os.rename
    • os.tmpname
    • os.execute
  • debug.debug() doesn't work from web workers due to lack of a method to get synchronous user input
  • Weak tables
  • __gc metamethods


  • package.jspath instead of package.cpath
  • LUA_JSPATH_DEFAULT instead of LUA_CPATH_DEFAULT (and contains .js extensions rather than .so or .dll extensions)
  • lua_tointegerx and lua_tonumberx do not have out-parameters indicating conversion success. Instead, false is returned when conversion fails.
  • luaL_execresult takes an extra argument: an error object. The error object should have a fields status, signal and errno.
  • luaL_fileresult takes an extra argument: an error object. The error object should have a field errno.


Some luaconf options can be chosen at library load time. Fengari looks for process.env.FENGARICONF and if it exists, parses it as a JSON string.


dv = lua_todataview(L, idx)

Equivalent to lua_tolstring but returns a DataView instead of a string.

lua_pushjsfunction(L, func)

Alias for lua_pushcfunction.

lua_pushjsclosure(L, func, n)

Alias for lua_pushcclosure.

lua_atnativeerror(L, func)

Sets a function to be called if a native JavaScript error is thrown across a lua pcall. The function will be run as if it were a message handler (see The current message handler will be run after the native error handler returns.

b = lua_isproxy(p, L)

Returns a boolean b indicating whether p is a proxy (See lua_toproxy). If L is non-null, only returns true if p belongs to the same global state.

p = lua_toproxy(L, idx)

Returns a JavaScript object p that holds a reference to the lua value at the stack index idx. This object can be called with a lua_State to push the value onto that state's stack.

This example would be an inefficient way to write lua_pushvalue(L, 1):

var p = lua_toproxy(L, 1);

fengari library

A library containing metadata about the fengari release.


This library is automatically loaded by luaL_openlibs into the global "fengari".


  • io.input(): partially implemented
  • io.lines()
  • io.output(): partially implemented
  • io.popen()
  • io.tmpfile()
  • file:lines()
  • file:read()
  • file:setvbuf()
  • file:__gc()




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