Elixir vs Lua: What are the differences?
Developers describe Elixir as "Dynamic, functional language designed for building scalable and maintainable applications". Elixir leverages the Erlang VM, known for running low-latency, distributed and fault-tolerant systems, while also being successfully used in web development and the embedded software domain. On the other hand, Lua is detailed as "Powerful, fast, lightweight, embeddable scripting language". Lua combines simple procedural syntax with powerful data description constructs based on associative arrays and extensible semantics. Lua is dynamically typed, runs by interpreting bytecode for a register-based virtual machine, and has automatic memory management with incremental garbage collection, making it ideal for configuration, scripting, and rapid prototyping.
Elixir and Lua can be primarily classified as "Languages" tools.
"Concurrency" is the primary reason why developers consider Elixir over the competitors, whereas "Fast learning curve" was stated as the key factor in picking Lua.
Elixir and Lua are both open source tools. Elixir with 15.6K GitHub stars and 2.22K forks on GitHub appears to be more popular than Lua with 1.26K GitHub stars and 436 GitHub forks.
According to the StackShare community, Elixir has a broader approval, being mentioned in 177 company stacks & 190 developers stacks; compared to Lua, which is listed in 55 company stacks and 23 developer stacks.
What is Elixir?
What is Lua?
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To handle its growing observability needs, Postmates created and open sourced Cernan, a telemetry and logging aggregation server. Ceran is built on Rust and Lua, and can ingest data from many sources and then push or exposes what it’s collected to many destinations, or “sinks.” It can also create or manipulate in-flight data with programmable Lua filters.
Postmates built a tool called Bazaar that helps onboard new partners and handles several routine tasks, like nightly emails to merchants alerting them about items that are out of stock.
Since they ran Bazaar across multiple instances, the team needed to avoid sending multiple emails to their partners by obtaining lock across multiple hosts. To solve their challenge, they created and open sourced ConsulMutEx, and an Elixir module for acquiring and releasing locks with Consul and other backends.
It works with Consul’s KV store, as well as other backends, including ets, Erlang’s in-memory database.
At Kong while building an internal tool, we struggled to route metrics to Prometheus and logs to Logstash without incurring too much latency in our metrics collection.
We replaced nginx with OpenResty on the edge of our tool which allowed us to use the lua-nginx-module to run Lua code that captures metrics and records telemetry data during every request’s log phase. Our code then pushes the metrics to a local aggregator process (written in Go) which in turn exposes them in Prometheus Exposition Format for consumption by Prometheus. This solution reduced the number of components we needed to maintain and is fast thanks to NGINX and LuaJIT.
Another major decision was to adopt Elixir and Phoenix Framework - the DX (Developer eXperience) is pretty similar to what we know from RoR, but this tech is running on the top of rock-solid Erlang platform which is powering planet-scale telecom solutions for 20+ years. So we're getting pretty much the best from both worlds: minimum friction & smart conventions that eliminate the excessive boilerplate AND highly concurrent EVM (Erlang's Virtual Machine) that makes all the scalability problems vanish. The transition was very smooth - none of Ruby developers we had decided to leave because of Elixir. What is more, we kept recruiting Ruby developers w/o any requirement regarding Elixir proficiency & we still were able to educate them internally in almost no time. Obviously Elixir comes with some more tools in the stack: Credo , Hex , AppSignal (required to properly monitor BEAM apps).
i've give a try to Ruby, Crystal, Python and GO, and yeah, for web development i use Elixir-Phoenix, because idk why just amazing, my phoenix app is very stable (comparing to api that written in other language), Ruby is slow, Crystal has unstable API, GO, umm yeah, you need too complicated (i use golang for microservice)
used lua as gameplay glue while at insomniac. one my favorite wins was integrating table support. it took walking the source code in a debugger to figure it out, still remember being at work at 3am when i got it working finally. (no google back then to make such things simple.)
We use Lua as our primary scripting language for third party developers - it's fast, the runtime can be quite small and fits into everywhere it needs to go - from mobile to web.
Huge boon to productivity when coupled with Phoenix. Moreover, it has made background jobs and all the unseen aspects of a business easily abstracted.
Lua is used as the programming language for all extensions and the main business logic.