In Gartner’s recent Hype Cycle for Application Development, “Reactive Programming” lies at the peak of inflated expectations – no doubt the hype is real, but we believe the promise is too!
To date, we haven’t really seen many reactive implementations in the wild. Sure, developers and architects are thinking more about scalability and resilience, but is that enough to be considered reactive? The Reactive Manifesto defines 4 key requirements of a reactive system – the foundation of which is asynchronous message-driven integration. This is where most apps today are falling short.
Gartner offers a strong definition of reactive app development. “Reactive programming is a program design model that focuses on data flows and the propagation of changing data values. Reactive programming technologies and best practices also incorporate elements of event-driven programming namely, asynchronous and non-blocking request/response sequences.”
The event-driven aspect spelled out in this definition is where many developers and their applications are falling short. By relying on HTTP to solve every integration problem, apps are inherently constrained and unable to “react”. The concept of propagating only changing data, and pushing these changes to your client apps is the foundation for next generation of apps.
The Hype Cycle goes on to say “Reactive programming design patterns and techniques support massively scalable applications by focusing on asynchronous communication paths — aspects critical to next-generation cloud solutions.” Here, we and Gartner agree. This integration pattern is the only scalable way of supporting next generation mobile, cloud and IoT applications. Per their predictions, we expect hype and demand will grow over the coming months, and reactive programming implementations will start to dominate mainstream integration and app development projects by the end of 2016.
With many new digital requirements, next-gen app development and architecture is a strategic concern from CIO to developer, and we don’t see a trough of disillusionment on the horizon anytime soon! From reactive manifesto to reactive revolution; developers, architects and product managers all need a data integration layer that is fit for purpose, flexible and competitive.
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