#lua #luajit #async #futures

sys mlua

High level bindings to Lua 5.4/5.3/5.2/5.1 (including LuaJIT) with async/await features and support of writing native lua modules in Rust

13 unstable releases (4 breaking)

0.5.1 Jan 21, 2021
0.5.0 Dec 31, 2020
0.4.2 Aug 17, 2020
0.4.1 Jun 8, 2020
0.2.0 Nov 30, 2019

#14 in Asynchronous

Download history 1704/week @ 2020-11-04 1915/week @ 2020-11-11 1659/week @ 2020-11-18 1575/week @ 2020-11-25 1774/week @ 2020-12-02 1678/week @ 2020-12-09 1711/week @ 2020-12-16 1612/week @ 2020-12-23 1566/week @ 2020-12-30 1555/week @ 2021-01-06 648/week @ 2021-01-13 1848/week @ 2021-01-20 1398/week @ 2021-01-27 893/week @ 2021-02-03 818/week @ 2021-02-10 795/week @ 2021-02-17

6,718 downloads per month
Used in 6 crates (5 directly)

MIT license



Build Status Latest Version API Documentation

Guided Tour

mlua is bindings to Lua programming language for Rust with a goal to provide safe (as far as it's possible), high level, easy to use, practical and flexible API.

Started as rlua v0.15 fork, mlua supports all major Lua versions (including LuaJIT) and allows to write native Lua modules in Rust as well as use Lua in a standalone mode.

mlua supports the following Lua versions (and tested on Windows/macOS/Linux):

  • Lua 5.4 (feature = "lua54")
  • Lua 5.3 (feature = "lua53")
  • Lua 5.2 (feature = "lua52")
  • Lua 5.1 (feature = "lua51")
  • LuaJIT 2.1.0 beta (feature = "luajit")
  • LuaJIT 2.0.5 stable (feature = "luajit")

Additional feature = "vendored" enables building static Lua from sources during mlua compilation.


Async/await support

Starting from v0.3, mlua supports async/await for all Lua versions. This works using Lua coroutines and require running Thread along with enabling feature = "async" in Cargo.toml.


Serialization (serde) support

With serialize feature flag enabled, mlua allows you to serialize/deserialize any type that implements serde::Serialize and serde::Deserialize into/from mlua::Value. In addition mlua provides serde::Serialize trait implementation for it (including user data support).



You have to enable one of the features lua54, lua53, lua52, lua51 or luajit, according to the choosen Lua version.

By default mlua uses pkg-config tool to find lua includes and libraries for the chosen Lua version. In most cases it works as desired, although sometimes could be more preferable to use a custom lua library. To achieve this, mlua supports LUA_INC, LUA_LIB, LUA_LIB_NAME and LUA_LINK environment variables. LUA_LINK is optional and may be dylib (a dynamic library) or static (a static library, .a archive).

An example how to use them:

my_project $ LUA_INC=$HOME/tmp/lua-5.2.4/src LUA_LIB=$HOME/tmp/lua-5.2.4/src LUA_LIB_NAME=lua LUA_LINK=static cargo build

mlua also supports vendored lua/luajit using the auxilary crates lua-src and luajit-src. Just enable the vendored feature and cargo will automatically build and link specified lua/luajit version. This is the easiest way to get started with mlua.

Standalone mode

Add to Cargo.toml :

mlua = { version = "0.5", features = ["lua53"] }


use mlua::prelude::*;

fn main() -> LuaResult<()> {
    let lua = Lua::new();

    let map_table = lua.create_table()?;
    map_table.set(1, "one")?;
    map_table.set("two", 2)?;

    lua.globals().set("map_table", map_table)?;

    lua.load("for k,v in pairs(map_table) do print(k,v) end").exec()?;


Module mode


Add to Cargo.toml :

crate-type = ["cdylib"]

mlua = { version = "0.5", features = ["lua53", "module"] }

lib.rs :

use mlua::prelude::*;

fn hello(_: &Lua, name: String) -> LuaResult<()> {
    println!("hello, {}!", name);

fn my_module(lua: &Lua) -> LuaResult<LuaTable> {
    let exports = lua.create_table()?;
    exports.set("hello", lua.create_function(hello)?)?;

And then (macOS example):

$ cargo rustc -- -C link-arg=-undefined -C link-arg=dynamic_lookup
$ ln -s ./target/debug/libmy_module.dylib ./my_module.so
$ lua5.3 -e 'require("my_module").hello("world")'
hello, world!

On macOS, you need to set additional linker arguments. One option is to compile with cargo rustc --release -- -C link-arg=-undefined -C link-arg=dynamic_lookup, the other is to create a .cargo/config with the following content:

rustflags = [
  "-C", "link-arg=-undefined",
  "-C", "link-arg=dynamic_lookup",

rustflags = [
  "-C", "link-arg=-undefined",
  "-C", "link-arg=dynamic_lookup",

On Linux you can build modules normally with cargo build --release. Vendored and non-vendored builds are supported for these OS.

On Windows vendored mode for modules is not supported since you need to link to a Lua dll. Easiest way is to use either MinGW64 (as part of MSYS2 package) with pkg-config or MSVC with LUA_INC / LUA_LIB / LUA_LIB_NAME environment variables.

More details about compiling and linking Lua modules can be found on the Building Modules page.


One of the mlua goals is to provide safe API between Rust and Lua. Every place where the Lua C API may trigger an error longjmp in any way is protected by lua_pcall, and the user of the library is protected from directly interacting with unsafe things like the Lua stack, and there is overhead associated with this safety.

Unfortunately, mlua does not provide absolute safety even without using unsafe . This library contains a huge amount of unsafe code. There are almost certainly bugs still lurking in this library! It is surprisingly, fiendishly difficult to use the Lua C API without the potential for unsafety.

Panic handling

mlua wraps panics that are generated inside Rust callbacks in a regular Lua error. Panics could be resumed then by propagating the Lua error to Rust code.

For example:

let lua = Lua::new();
let f = lua.create_function(|_, ()| -> LuaResult<()> {
    panic!("test panic");
lua.globals().set("rust_func", f)?;

let _ = lua.load(r#"
    local status, err = pcall(rust_func)
    print(err) -- prints: test panic
    error(err) -- propagate panic


mlua should also be panic safe in another way as well, which is that any Lua instances or handles remains usable after a user generated panic, and such panics should not break internal invariants or leak Lua stack space. This is mostly important to safely use mlua types in Drop impls, as you should not be using panics for general error handling.

Below is a list of mlua behaviors that should be considered a bug. If you encounter them, a bug report would be very welcome:

  • If your program panics with a message that contains the string "mlua internal error", this is a bug.

  • The above is true even for the internal panic about running out of stack space! There are a few ways to generate normal script errors by running out of stack, but if you encounter a panic based on running out of stack, this is a bug.

  • Lua C API errors are handled by lonjmp. All instances where the Lua C API would otherwise longjmp over calling stack frames should be guarded against, except in internal callbacks where this is intentional. If you detect that mlua is triggering a longjmp over your Rust stack frames, this is a bug!

  • If you detect that, after catching a panic or during a Drop triggered from a panic, a Lua or handle method is triggering other bugs or there is a Lua stack space leak, this is a bug. mlua instances are supposed to remain fully usable in the face of user generated panics. This guarantee does not extend to panics marked with "mlua internal error" simply because that is already indicative of a separate bug.


This project is licensed under the MIT license


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