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Reactive Programming

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In computing, reactive programming has taken a new hype and has become a talk of the town, but to understand reactive programming it is necessary to know what it does, and how did it gain such popularity. Application developments nowadays require many technical handlings like user interaction networking and data management. To tackle all this, developer must write a lot of asynchronous code.

According to Wikipedia, “Reactive programming is declarative programming paradigm concerned with data streams and the propagation of change.” In literal meanings reactive programming is asynchronous programming that handles your code to react to the data in observable sequence. Basically, data streams become the spine of your application. When developing applications, we strive to make the app as interactive as possible and that is done by managing databases, handling URL responses at the same time, handling frameworks and making frequent UI changes. Here comes reactive programming which serves as an alternate, the main purpose of this is that even minor functions such as messages, calls, event failures will be conveyed through data streams. While using reactive programming, you observe these streams and react when a value is emitted and that is how it becomes inherently asynchronous. 

Why do we need Asynchronous work?

It won’t be wrong to say that Reactive programming revolves around user experience. Reactive programming is the recognition that software must be capable of offering better user experience than before. It combines the idea of a synchronicity, with the observer and iteration pattern and standardizes the ways that producers and consumers of data must behave. Now the question comes, why do we need Asynchronous work? The best answer is now days we all want a better user experience, we always strive to make our applications more responsive and provide user with better user experience without the hassle of delayed thread or any performance issues.

For better understanding, consider the Google map for instance, the application signifies a mark on your current location and when you commute the mark moves with you, now when you walk to a coffee shop near you the mark will indicate the movement in real time, this function is accomplished by tracking the location, then it tracks the value and submits to the API in a very few seconds, the API then returns response to the UI thread which is then displayed on your screen. This whole process is reactive programming in a nutshell.

Interesting Facts on Reactive Programming.

  • Reactive programming and reactive framework

It is essential to differentiate between reactive programming and reactive framework.
Reactive frameworks comprise of reactive systems and they are intended to be responsive and resilient. Being responsive requires that our system must handle a collection of requests in less time even in situations when there are more requests than normal.

  • Applications using Reactive Programming

As we know reactive programming has made it possible to express static and dynamic data streams through extremely interactive mobile applications as well as web applications. Using reactive programming everything becomes a stream, Netflix utilizes reactive programming in its programs, it receives around 400 billion requests every single day, but all events still run side by side each other and produce reliable and quick responses from users all across the globe.

  • Use Experience and greater efficiency

So, reactive programming makes everything interactive, all the applications we use in daily life are reactive at the front end but the development in reactive programming has made it applicable to the back end as well. The asynchronous nature of the reactive programming has increased the efficiency with data that moves and responds in near real time.

Benefits of Reactive programming:

  •  It results in increased performance. It is accomplished through the possibility of processing large amounts of data efficiently and quickly.
  • Improves UX. A web application becomes responsive which leads to better user experience.
  • The readable and understandable code allows the developers to make frequent alterations and modifications.
  • It helps to make the code manageable.

Drawback of Reactive programming:

  • It is memory intensive to store streams of data most of the times (since it is based on streams over time).
  • Can get unconventional to learn at start (needs everything to be a stream).
  • Most complications must be dealt with at the time of declaration of new services.
  • Lack of good and simple resources to learn.
  • Often confused to be equivalent to Functional Reactive Programming.

The world of technology is always in the hunt of better and effective techniques that can result in greater user experience and to make the backend simpler and manageable. Reactive programming has resulted in greater productivity through logic and dataflow. It also allows enhancements to both resilience and scalability. These traits of reactive programming help construct a framework that offers positive experience to the consumers.

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