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Reactive Extensions Update on Channel 9

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Reactive Extensions Update on Channel 9

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A while ago I wrote a little about the Reactive Extensions (Rx) to .NET ( see previous post ) and also about the Visual Studio Async CTP ( see other previous post ) and I thought I’d take a moment to follow up because there’s a new video on Channel 9 about a new, experimental release of Rx which includes more work to bridge between the two areas.

If you’re interested in Rx, the Async CTP or asynchronous programming in general then I’d really recommend taking the time to watch this video with Bart de Smet who’s on the Rx team;

One of the real trends that I’ve seen over the past 3-5 years is around this rise in “asynchronous programming” and it’s a topic that I’ll wax lyrical on given half the chance Smile

It seems to me that it wasn’t so many years ago that operating system and framework vendors took great lengths to hide developers from the nastiness of having to work asynchronously.

More recently, I think we’ve seen a significant shift in that operating system and framework vendors expose asynchronous APIs directly to developers and offer greatly improved techniques for implementing asynchronous work.

I see Rx and the Async CTP work as fantastic examples of this. Contrasting the patterns that we used for asynchronous work ~10 years ago (i.e. IAsyncResult) with those of today (i.e. Task<T>, IObservable<T>) illustrates just how far we’ve come.

I’m not sure that I know exactly what’s driving the trend towards async. Maybe it’s the search for more server-side scalability or maybe it’s the search for more client-side responsiveness? Maybe it’s just that people got used to doing AJAX work and so came to expect that everything will work  that way.

Who knows? Either way, asynchronous programming is on the rise and so spending time on the framework and language support is likely to pay benefits in the future.

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