From Brazil to Wikipedia

The Surprising Journey of a Programming Language from Rio

(Alex Dixon / Flickr)

Last month, the San Francisco–based Wikimedia Foundation, which maintains Wikipedia, announced that it was changing the way some of the site’s more complex pages are configured. Prior to this, these pages were built using Wikipedia’s own homegrown template language. Over time, however, the system proved too limiting -- for example, editors had to come up with nearly a page of code just to determine the length of a piece of text. By 2011, the foundation’s engineers had started looking for a better solution. One of the options was embedding the popular JavaScript language, used in most web browsers. The engineers looked especially closely at the version of JavaScript developed by Google, the Internet behemoth based in nearby Mountain View, in the heart of Silicon Valley. But they eventually looked farther afield, settling on Lua, a programming language developed by a trio of researchers in

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