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ZeroBrane Studio is a lightweight open-source Lua IDE with code completion, syntax highlighting, code analyzer, live coding, and debugging support for Lua 5.1, Lua 5.2, Lua 5.3, LuaJIT, and other Lua engines. ZeroBrane Studio is a cross-platform application written in Lua that runs on Windows (Windows XP+), Linux, and macOS (10.7+) operating systems. It uses the wxWidgets toolkit and the Scintilla component for file editing.

ZeroBrane Studio
ZeroBrane Studio
ZeroBrane Studio
Original author(s)Paul Kulchenko
Initial releaseJanuary 18, 2012; 7 years ago (2012-01-18)
Stable release
1.80 / October 7, 2018; 12 months ago (2018-10-07)
Written inLua (using the wxWidgets toolkit)
Operating systemCross-Platform
LicenseMIT License


ZeroBrane Studio was created by Paul Kulchenko in September 2011 as a way to allow inexperienced users to run and debug Lua applications,[1] initially targeting Lua applications running on mobile devices. It was based on open-source Estrela Editor[2] for Luxinia, an open-source 3D graphics engine. Estrela Editor was developed starting from August 2008 based on one of the sample applications included with wxLua wrapper[3] around wxWidgets.

The first public version of ZeroBrane Studio was released in January 2012.[4] During the first year of the project, the development of Estrela and ZeroBrane Studio continued in parallel and in October 2012 Estrela Editor project was fully merged into ZeroBrane Studio project.[2]


Interpreter integrationEdit

ZeroBrane Studio provides integration and debugging support for Lua 5.1, Lua 5.2, Lua 5.3, and LuaJIT interpreters integrated into various products: CoronaSDK, Cocos2d, Moai SDK, LÖVE, Gideros Mobile, Redis, Torch, Adobe Lightroom, Nginx Lua scripts and more.[8]

There are several books[9][10][11][12] and tutorials[13][14][15][16][17] that cover using ZeroBrane Studio with various game and mobile toolkits. It has also been used in teaching undergraduate and graduate class on mobile application development.[18]


ZeroBrane Studio provides local, remote and cross-platform debugging for applications executing Lua code. The debugger supports the following functions: step through the code, set/remove breakpoints, inspect variables and expressions using the Watch window, inspect the call stack with local values and upvalues (local values defined in the outer scope of the current function) using the Stack window, suspend/resume the running application, and run Lua commands in the Console window.

The IDE also supports on-device debugging for Corona SDK[19] and Gideros Mobile[15] software development kits, with the application running on a mobile device and the IDE running on a desktop computer.

Live codingEdit

In addition to debugging Lua applications, ZeroBrane Studio also supports live coding, which allows making changes to the application code while the application is running and seeing the results of the changes in the application. The live coding is supported for Lua interpreters and several other environments.[20][21]


ZeroBrane Studio includes support for plugins written in Lua.[22] The open source plugin repository[23] currently lists 45 plugins that range from simple plugins that customize the environment to more complex ones that provide real-time watches,[24] document map, or split screen editing.[25]

Integrated educational materialsEdit

Packaged versions of ZeroBrane Studio distributed from the project website[26] include educational materials for Lua with more than 50 simple scripts and examples, demonstrating use of Lua with Turtle graphics and Spirograph scripts.[27] ZeroBrane Studio supports Markdown formatting in comments, which supports text formatting and references to other Lua files and external resources. It supports execution of Lua commands directly in the IDE, providing integration with included educational materials.

Interface translationsEdit

ZeroBrane Studio supports interface translation[28] into different languages by providing a Lua file containing all text that should be translated. As of 2014, the user community has contributed translations to six languages.[29]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Drawing trees with turtles
  2. ^ a b Estrela Editor project page
  3. ^ wxLua project page
  4. ^ ZeroBrane Studio changelog
  5. ^ ZeroBrane Studio documentation
  6. ^ ZeroBrane Studio tutorials and demos
  7. ^ LuaDist package manager integration with ZeroBrane Studio
  8. ^ ZeroBrane Studio documentation: Debugging
  9. ^ Francisco Tufró (2013). Developing Mobile Games with Moai SDK (ch.2), Packt Publishing (March 25, 2013). ISBN 1-782-16506-1
  10. ^ Brian Burton (2013). Learning Mobile Application & Game Development with Corona SDK (p.324), Burtons Media Group; 1 edition (April 1, 2013). ISBN 978-1-937336-07-3
  11. ^ Jayant Varma (2012). Learn Lua for iOS Game Development (p.320), Apress; 1 edition (December 17, 2012). ISBN 1-430-24662-6
  12. ^ Robert Cook (2014). Introduction to Programming with Lua and the Corona Game Lab (ch.8), Cook's Books; 1.0 edition (February 28, 2014)
  13. ^ Using ZeroBrane Studio with Moai (it also works with LOVE)
  14. ^ Debugging and live coding with Corona SDK
  15. ^ a b Why and how to use Gideros with ZeroBrane Studio IDE
  16. ^ Using ZeroBrane Studio with Marmalade Quick Archived June 15, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ Debugging Lua web applications using ZeroBrane Studio and Xavante
  18. ^ Mobile App Development course information
  19. ^ Corona on-device debugging
  20. ^ ZeroBrane Studio live coding
  21. ^ Twenty Minutes to Awesome - livecoding Gideros with ZeroBrane Studio Archived July 11, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ ZeroBrane Studio plugin documentation
  23. ^ ZeroBrane Studio plugin repository
  24. ^ Plugin: Real-time watches
  25. ^ Plugin: Clone view
  26. ^ ZeroBrane Studio project page
  27. ^ ZeroBrane Studio EduPack
  28. ^ ZeroBrane Studio translation documentation
  29. ^ ZeroBrane Studio in seven languages

External linksEdit

  Media related to ZeroBrane Studio at Wikimedia Commons