For those who’re well versed in the world of technology there’s a chance you’ve come across information about Reactive Programming and its functionality. 

To provide an understanding of Reactive Programming, we aim to simplify the concept for everyone. 

What is Reactive Programming?

Reactive Programming involves leveraging data streams. These streams consist of events that occur because of variables, data structures or any other factors. 

Consider the Google Maps application as an example. When you use the app and move around, it tracks your location and updates a dot on the map accordingly. For instance, if you were walking from your home to the grocery store with the app open you would notice that the dot representing your location moves along with you in time. 

This is achieved by monitoring your location, device acceleration and position, to North. The app then combines these values and sends them to its API every second. 

The API subsequently sends a response, to the UI Thread, which is then presented to you, the user as an animated dot, on a map. This is essentially how programming works. 

How is Reactive Programming Different from Functional Programming?

In reactive programming, we’ve got functional tools that make it possible to merge multiple streams. Together, this is functional programming.

Functional programming is useful when we want to filter streams to get specific events we want to know about. Various tools also make it possible for us to map data values between streams.

What is a Stream?

Stream is a sequence of events that take place in order over time. Streams give us values, errors, and completed signals. With those, we can decide what happens next.

When streams are observed or listened to, the events that we want are what we respond to. This is also known as the Observer Design Pattern.

What Goes into a Reactive Framework?

Reactive frameworks, also known as reactive programming frameworks, are created with the express purpose of expressing application logic through streams that trigger what is known as side-effects.

There are various programming frameworks available for us to use in creating our streams and coding for the desired side-effects.

Frameworks can be powerful, the learning curve can be pretty tough, and the difficulty can sometimes be too much for some to be willing to take on these particular tools.

RxJS is one of those tools that can be overwhelming. It is a reactive extension or Rx, library-based in javascript. Learning RxJS is not easy and takes significant time and practice to learn and implement the framework.

RxAndroid was created to run similarly to RxJava, but it is just as difficult as RxJS. If we have a background or at least a preliminary understanding of reactive programming, it will be easier to understand what’s going on.

Top 5 Interesting Facts on How Reactive Programming Frameworks Work

Now that we’ve got all the basics out of the way, here are some interesting facts about reactive programming frameworks.

1. Data Streams are the Backbone to Our Applications

Data streams serve as the foundation, for our applications. Every event, whether it’s a message, call or even a failure originates from a data stream. To understand and monitor the activities within our stream we must determine which observables we will be using in our code. 

2. Cold and Hot Observables Make a Difference

Inside our code work, we will have created inherently asynchronous data streams. Within the code, our observables can be considered hot or cold.

Cold observables are passive and don’t do anything unless activated via subscribing with a reactive extension. Think about a file download – nothing happens until we click on the button to download.

Hot observables are active without an individual subscriber. Consider the way a stock ticker works – the information is available to anyone who wants to view it without having to click on anything.

Hot observables are best for sending the same data to multiple recipients or sharing new connections with multiple recipients.

3. Reactive Programming Does Not Create a Reactive Framework

Reactive frameworks consist of reactive systems, which possess features such as responsive, resilient and capable of maintaining communication. The responsiveness aspect ensures that our systems can handle a range of requests, within a timeframe even during periods when the number of requests exceeds the usual amount. The stability of messaging plays a role as it enables interaction between various components, within a reactive system through asynchronous messaging. 

4. Practical Applications of Reactive Programming

Reactive programming enables the expression of both static and dynamic data streams, in mobile and web applications. With Rx any aspect can be transformed into a stream. Like programming paradigms Rx starts with a stream of requests followed by corresponding responses and concludes by rendering the response or determining the actions to be taken. 

For instance, Netflix incorporates reactive programming in its lineup. The platform handles a volume of 400 billion requests on a basis. Moreover, all events seamlessly run concurrently. Deliver dependable responses to user interactions from, around the world.

5. Consumers Experience Greater Efficiency with Reactive Programming

Nowadays all applications have become interactive due to the implementation of reactive programming. While we have been familiar with front end applications for a while now it’s recently that we’ve started seeing this approach finds application on the backend as well. 

Thus, the introduction of reactive application development has brought about a communication process compared to traditional methods. This means that data can move and respond in near time resulting in increased efficiency, for users.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, reactive programming makes it possible for greater productivity via logic and data flow. Reactive systems allow for improvements to both resilience and scalability. Together, they both create the framework that embraces reactive programming that delivers a positive experience for consumers.

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