Lua (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lua_%28programming_language%29) support is being deployed in Wikipedia (https://blog.wikimedia.org/2013/03/11/lua-templates-faster-more-flexible-pages/) and other Wikimedia projects as programming language for templates (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Lua). Let's learn about Lua and how it can be used to improve the quality and performance of articles.
5:30pm Open doors, open beer, open pizza.
6pm-ish (1am UTC (http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/fixedtime.html?iso=20130315T0100)) First talk starts:
A Brief Introduction to Lua
by Drew Ditthardt, member of the Bay Area Lua Developers (http://www.meetup.com/lua-devs/) meetup. A demo-based minimal crash course.
How Lua improves Wikipedia
by Rob Lanphier (http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:RobLa-WMF), Tim Starling (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Tim_Starling) (remote) and Brad Jorsch (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Anomie) (remote). See to believe! Examples of bizarre wikitext based templates used in thousands of Wikipedia articles, solved in few lines of Lua code.
Most Wikipedia pages use templates written with wikitext syntax, from citation of references to infoboxes. In fact there are thousands of templates available and many of them are pretty pretty smart. But writing smart templates is hard, and many times they come with performance penalties.
Lua support simplifies the development of templates and increases significantly the performance of page rendering. Using a standard programming language for templating opens the door to many more possibilities. Add to the mix the ongoing deployment of Wikidata (https://www.wikidata.org/) as a means to convert plain content into semantic data. Can you see the potential?