Reactive Programming and the Reactive Manifesto

React

Article from Issue 163/2014
Author(s):

In July of last year, Jonas Bonér and some other colleagues published the Reactive Manifesto. Soon, the term was on everyone's lips, but this seemingly new programming concept is actually much older.

The term Reactive Programming was coined by David Harel and Amir Pnueli back in 1985 [1]. Harel and Pnueli focused their academic work on designing systems that must constantly respond to input or changes. Over the following years, the meaning of the term reactive programming shifted slightly. Today, an application is generally considered reactive if it responds quickly to input or data changes.

If you investigate the existing solutions that specialize in reactive programming, you will encounter a mix of terms, concepts, and implementations. Jonas Bonér and his co-authors wanted to clear up this confusion with their Reactive Manifesto [2][3]. Bonér and many of his colleagues work for Typesafe, which provides a platform for reactive programs [4], so the authors have a strong incentive to advance the prospects of reactive programming.

The Reactive Manifesto defines common terms that improve collaboration among the developer communities and also make it easier for users and manufacturers to talk to each other. According to the manifesto, a reactive program:

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