What is Reactive Programming?

What is Reactive Programming

So, I am sure you would have come across the term reactive programming and all the hype in the developer community for it. It has begun its journey from pure web applications to Java Enterprise applications and now even to UI. It does make you wonder why everyone is going for this modern programming paradigm quickly.

In this article, we’ll discuss how you can get started with reactive programming along with its key concepts and main advantages and limitations. We’ll look through the benefits it presents to developers and to the business needs as well. We’ll then look at the challenges it presents to developers in implementation.

What is Reactive Programming?

It is a new and modern programming paradigm in which we use declarative code in a manner that is similar to functional programming to build asynchronous message-driven systems.

Reactive Programming is mainly concerned with data streams and the propagation of change. It means that it becomes possible to express static data streams like arrays or dynamic data streams like event-emitters with ease.

Supporting the construction of reactive systems, reactive programming breaks problems into small and discrete steps, executing these steps in an asynchronous and non-blocking fashion through a callback mechanism. Some examples of reactive programming concepts are Futures, Promises, Streams, RxJava, RxScala, etc.

Why are Companies using Reactive Programming?

Many businesses are embracing this modern trend of reactive programming and with good reason. It builds the website or application in such a way that it offers a better user experience.

It leads to smoother and faster results, making user interactions much better. The motivation behind the reactive programming paradigm is that it helps to understand the challenges faced by developers and companies today as compared to the challenges faced only a decade ago.

Benefits of Reactive Programming

Some of the main benefits of reactive programming can be listed as:

  1. It improves the user experience when used to build apps or websites. The asynchronous nature of reactive programming means that it will always offer a smoother and more responsive product for users to interact with.
  2. One big bonus with reactive programming is that it is easy to manage as a developer. We can add or remove any blocks of code from individual data streams, which means you can easily make any amendments needed via the stream concerned.
  3. It is less of a hassle than regular threading due to the way it allows users to work on the data streams. This is true not only for basic threading in an application but also for more complex threading operations you may need to undertake.
  4. It allows us to write cleaner code, which leads to more concise code.
  5. Once you get the hang of reactive programming, it’ll be the easiest and most convenient programming paradigm.
  6. We can easily scale up and scale down any application built using reactive programming.
  7. The reactive programming paradigm helps in better error handling.

What are the Challenges of Reactive Programming?

While reactive programming is a great tool for developers to use, it does have some challenges to overcome when you get started with it.

Compared to previous ways of working, reactive programming is quite different. It leads to a steep learning curve, which might feel unconventional to start.

When working in reactive programming, it can be easy to handle subscriptions within an app or site incorrectly. This can lead to memory leakage, which could end up slowing things down for users.

In reactive programming, most complexities need to be dealt with at the time of declaring new services.


This scratches the surface of developing applications today and leads to why reactive programming isn’t just another trend but rather the paradigm for modern software developers to learn.

Regardless of the language or toolkit chosen, putting scalability and resilience first to achieve responsiveness is the only way to meet the expectations of users. Reactive programming follows every possible aspect of responsiveness due to which it will only get more important with each passing year.

Posted by
Ajoy Kumar

He is a Computer Science graduate dedicated to empowering individuals to forge successful careers in programming and the dynamic world of technology and industry.

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