Science and technology

Management your Raspberry Pi with Lua

Lua is a generally misunderstood language. It’s totally different from different languages, like Python, but it surely’s a flexible extension language that’s extensively utilized in sport engines, frameworks, and extra. Overall, I discover Lua to be a useful instrument for builders, letting them improve and increase their initiatives in some highly effective methods.

You can obtain and run inventory Lua as Seth Kenlon defined in his article Is Lua worth learning, which incorporates easy Lua code examples. However, to get essentially the most out of Lua, it’s greatest to make use of it with a framework that has already adopted the language. In this tutorial, I display learn how to use a framework known as Mako Server, which is designed for enabling Lua programmers to simply code IoT and internet purposes. I additionally present you learn how to prolong this framework with an API for working with the Raspberry Pi’s GPIO pins.


Before following this tutorial, you want a working Raspberry Pi which you can log into. While I shall be compiling C code on this tutorial, you do not want any prior expertise with C code. However, you do want some expertise with a POSIX terminal.


To begin, open a terminal window in your Raspberry Pi and set up the next instruments for downloading code utilizing Git and for compiling C code:

$ sudo apt set up git unzip gcc make

Next, compile the open supply Mako Server code and the Lua-periphery library (the Raspberry Pi GPIO library) by working the next command:

$ wget -O 

Review the script to see what it does, and run it when you’re snug with it:

$ sh ./

The compilation course of could take a while, particularly on an older Raspberry Pi. Once the compilation is full, the script asks you to put in the Mako Server and the lua-periphery module to /usr/native/bin/. I like to recommend putting in it to simplify utilizing the software program. Don’t fear, should you not want it, you possibly can uninstall it:

$ cd /usr/native/bin/
$ sudo rm mako

To take a look at the set up, kind mako into your terminal. This begins the Mako Server, and see some output in your terminal. You can cease the server by urgent CTRL+C.

IoT and Lua

Now that the Mako Server is ready up in your Raspberry Pi, you can begin programming IoT and internet purposes and dealing with the Raspberry Pi’s GPIO pins utilizing Lua. The Mako Server framework offers a robust and straightforward API for Lua builders to create IoT purposes and the lua-periphery module lets Lua builders work together with the Raspberry Pi’s GPIO pins and different peripheral gadgets.

Start by creating an utility listing and a .preload script, which inserts Lua code for testing the GPIO. The .preload script is a Mako Server extension that’s loaded and run as a Lua script when an utility is began.

$ mkdir gpiotst
$ nano gpiotst/.preload

Copy the next into the Nano editor and save the file:

-- Load and entry the LED interface
native LED = require('periphery').LED

native operate doled()
  native led = LED("led0") -- Open LED led0
  hint"Turn LED on"
  led:write(true)   -- Turn on LED (set max brightness)
  ba.sleep(3000)    -- 3 seconds
  hint"Turn LED off"
  led:write(false)  -- Turn off LED (set zero brightness)
finish -- Defer execution
                     -- to after Mako has began

The above Lua code controls the primary Raspberry Pi LED utilizing the Lua-periphery library you compiled and included with the Mako Server. The script defines a single operate known as doled that controls the LED. The script begins by loading the periphery library (the shared library utilizing the Lua require operate. The returned knowledge is a Lua table with all GPIO API features. However, you solely want the LED API, and also you straight entry that by appending .LED after calling require. Next, the code defines a operate known as doled that does the next:

  1. Opens the Raspberry Pi fundamental LED recognized as led0 by calling the LED operate from the periphery library and by passing it the string led0.
  2. Prints the message Turn LED on to the hint (the console).
  3. Activates the LED by calling the write methodology on the LED object and passing it the Boolean worth true, which units the utmost brightness of the LED.
  4. Waits for 3 seconds by calling ba.sleep(3000).
  5. Prints the message Turn LED off to the hint.
  6. Deactivates the LED by calling the write methodology on the LED object and passing it the Boolean worth false, which units zero brightness of the LED.
  7. Closes the LED by calling the shut operate on the LED object.

At the tip of the .preload script, the doled operate is handed in as argument to operate This permits the execution of the doled operate to be deferred till after Mako Server has began.

To begin the gpiotst utility, run the Mako Server as follows:

$ mako -l::gpiotst

The following textual content is printed within the console:

Opening LED:
opening 'brightness': Permission denied.

Accessing GPIO requires root entry, so cease the server by urgent CTRL+C and restart the Mako Server as follows:

$ sudo mako -l::gpiotst

Now the Raspberry Pi LED activates for 3 seconds. Success!

Lua unlocks IoT

In this primer, you realized learn how to compile the Mako Server, together with the GPIO Lua module, and learn how to write a primary Lua script for turning the Raspberry Pi LED on and off. I’ll cowl additional IoT features, constructing upon this text, in future articles.

You could within the meantime delve deeper into the Lua-periphery GPIO library by studying its documentation to grasp extra about its features and learn how to use it with totally different peripherals. To get essentially the most out of this tutorial, take into account following the interactive Mako Server Lua tutorial to get a greater understanding of Lua, internet, and IoT. Happy coding!

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