Functions & Closures

In the source code, Lua Functions are called Closure. A Closure is composed of proto and UpVal.

  • A proto is basically a function not yet bound to UpVal.
  • proto is generated at compile time. Closure is generated at runtime.
  • A proto can generate multiple Closure.

The definition of proto.

** Function Prototypes
typedef struct Proto {
  lu_byte numparams;  /* number of fixed parameters */
  lu_byte is_vararg;
  lu_byte maxstacksize;  /* number of registers needed by this function */
  int sizeupvalues;  /* size of 'upvalues' */
  int sizek;  /* size of 'k' */
  int sizecode;
  int sizelineinfo;
  int sizep;  /* size of 'p' */
  int sizelocvars;
  int linedefined;  /* debug information  */
  int lastlinedefined;  /* debug information  */
  TValue *k;  /* constants used by the function */
  Instruction *code;  /* opcodes */
  struct Proto **p;  /* functions defined inside the function */
  int *lineinfo;  /* map from opcodes to source lines (debug information) */
  LocVar *locvars;  /* information about local variables (debug information) */
  Upvaldesc *upvalues;  /* upvalue information */
  struct LClosure *cache;  /* last-created closure with this prototype */
  TString  *source;  /* used for debug information */
  GCObject *gclist;
} Proto;

When parsing functions, Lua generate instructions with luaK_codeABx/luaK_codeABC, then collect them into a FuncState. A FuncState will be converted into a Proto after the parsing is finished.

If we compose a Proto and its corresponding UpVals, we get a Closure. There are two kinds of CLosure:

  • LClosure is implemented in Lua
  • CClosure is implemented in C
** Closures
typedef int (*lua_CFunction) (lua_State *L);

#define ClosureHeader \
    CommonHeader; lu_byte nupvalues; GCObject *gclist

typedef struct CClosure {
  lua_CFunction f;
  TValue upvalue[1];  /* list of upvalues */
} CClosure;

typedef struct LClosure {
  struct Proto *p;
  UpVal *upvals[1];  /* list of upvalues */
} LClosure;

typedef union Closure {
  CClosure c;
  LClosure l;
} Closure;

CClosure and LClosure both contain its upvalues and ClosureHeader. However, CClosure is just a function pointer and doesn't have a Proto.

With ClosureHeader, closures are also chained together into a linked-list for garbage collection.