The term “Reactive Programming” first appeared in 1960. Today there is confusion around the RP definition, which increased when The Reactive Manifesto was proclaimed and represented “Reactive systems” with 4 principles (Responsibility, Resilience, Elasticity, and Message Driving) in 2014.
Let’s consider the most popular questions about reactive programming to understand its nature better.
Reactive programming is the coding style, which is aimed to work with asynchronous data streams and a certain propagation of changes. Reactive programming is about making modifications to the execution environment in a specific order.
In other words, what is the difference between the synchronous, asynchronous, and reactive approach?
Let’s consider the situation:
Tom wants to go to the movies with his friends, Kate and Jim. What should he do?
Reactive programming is about the programming style and reactive systems are the sets of certain design and architectural solutions that lead to the creation of highly effective web applications.
Developers can use reactive programming in reactive systems. It is a winning hand that helps them to build a more responsive web application with low latency and efficient usage of resources.
Java as an example of old object-oriented programming requires using async processing when it works with a huge scope of data. Async processing, in turn, can make code more difficult to understand and harder to maintain. Reactive programming simplifies work with asynchronous processes, that’s why it is so needed if we want to build a fast and responsive system.
The last release of Java, Java 8, tried to extend the built-in functionality, but it didn’t become popular with software developers. Yet, there are third-party solutions that work with Java perfectly. Such frameworks are regularly updated and easy to use.
Reactive programming has several obvious benefits, such as:
It is no need to complicate the code of a simple website. It will be a good choice if you are going to update your site, for example, with the possibility to leave comments or change the rating. Reactive programming will help with processing a large amount of data. Reactive components can be entered step by step without changing the entire programming model.
It will be the right solution in case of high-load and multi-user applications, for example:
Developers can use reactive programming in several parts of any applications if it is necessary. To give a few examples, reactive programming is applicable to:
A Java developer should “regroup” to take the next level of logic, as it requires a lot of time and practical experience to get used to reactive programming. It is not about frameworks uploading and reading manuals. For a company, it will be the right solution to seek a specialist who can analyze your system and define the way, how to introduce reactive programming in the product with the greatest benefit.
Reactive programming is a special style of coding, which assumes that all the changes are managed with the help of asynchronous data streaming. Reactive programming will be applicable when async processes over-elaborate the code in Java; if there is no such a necessity, using reactive programming will be extra.