Blog posts tagged in Reactive Programming

Technology advancements have made our lives so easy that we can easily find solutions to our different problems with a mere touch or swipe of our smartphones. The same holds true for mobile app developers as well.

Owing to ongoing technological advancements, app development no longer requires developers to toil hard at building different versions of a native mobile app just to ensure that it works seamlessly on different mobile platforms (Android and iOS). Developers can use a single codebase to build superior-quality apps for Android and iOS instead.

Writing different codebases to build different versions of a mobile app is not just laborious, but very time consuming and expensive as well. Thanks to the advent of cross-platform mobile app development tools (like React Native, Xamarin, NativeScript, etc.) for empowering developers to build native apps that feel equally at home on different mobile platforms.

When we talk about cross-platform app development tools, Facebook’s React Native comes at the top. However, in this post, I am going to throw light on a new entrant from Google called Flutter, an open-source software development kit (SDK) to build native apps for Android and iOS. Flutter was launched in 2017 and saw its first stable release come out in the market in December 2018. Although very new, Flutter has already started to gain traction and become a recent trend among native app developers. Let’s catch the grasp of, why?

What all makes Google Flutter a Highly Promising Cross-Platform Tool?

Fast Development

Flutter enables fast and dynamic UI development via its rich UI set, called widgets (Material Design for Android and Cupertino for Apple). UI development with Xamarin is very time consuming, which is not the case with Flutter. Flutter provides Hot Reload feature, similar to React Native, which allows developers to make changes in the code and see them right away (in milliseconds) in the app. So, using Flutter, developers can easily and quickly add features, fix bugs and experiment with the app’s look without having to restart the app and wait for long to check the effects.

Easy Learning Curve

Flutter uses the Dart language, unlike React Native that uses Javascript. Yes, developers would have to learn Dart to use Flutter, but the relief comes in the ease of learning. Any developer with experience in Object-oriented programming (OOP) languages, such as C++ and Java, can easily learn Dart and start using it.

High Performance and Speed

Flutter apps are compiled “ahead-of-Time” (AOT) into native code for multiple platforms, which helps improve overall performance and eliminate issues that arise because of the need for a JavaScript bridge. Since Dart doesn’t rely on Javascript bridge, it greatly reduces the app startup times as well. Dart also uses Just-in-Time (JIT) compilation which supports the Hot Reload (a feature discussed above) capacity of Flutter to expedite the development workflow. So, Flutter provides the advantages of reactive views without relying on a JavaScript bridge.

Custom Designs

The beauty of Flutter is that it allows you to add new widgets and customize the existing ones as per your wants and needs to delight users. So, you can easily try a different look or feel that you think your users will love or to match your company’s brand. Custom designs have become a trend in mobile app development in the past few years, making Flutter a very interesting framework to use for cross-platform mobile app development.

Perfect for an MVP

Flutter is perfect to build an MVP due to its fast development process for both Android and iOS. Start-ups can quickly build a product using Flutter and show it to users and investors to test their assumptions and figure out if they’re on the right track. Testing time is also less since developers are required to write automated tests only once for one codebase. Flutter also saves the costs of developing and testing two separate apps.

Architecture on Reactive Programming

Similar to React Native, Flutter’s architecture is based on reactive programming. In a nutshell, Flutter apps react to user input by changing variables/properties (in simple words, the ‘state’ of the screen or view), and the re-rendering of the UI takes place based on the new state.

Compatibility with Older Devices

Flutter apps have the same look even on old versions of Android and iOS. There’s no requirement for compat libraries as the widgets and the renderer for those widgets are the part of your app. All Flutter apps run on Android Jelly Bean or newer, as well as iOS 8 or newer.

Documentation & Toolkit

Flutter scores higher than React Native when it comes to facilitating the documentation. Developers can use them while documenting their applications, which adds ease to their work life. Besides, Flutter offers extensive IDEs and tools along with React Native support. Flutter is also compatible with Visual Studio Code and Android Studio, which makes the framework a top choice to use for creating beautiful and efficient native apps.

More and more businesses are now embracing Flutter with both arms to build native apps that take less coding time and deliver supreme performance. Reduction in app development cost, increased productivity, faster market reach, code reusability, ease of implementation, etc., are other important factors that make Flutter a very good choice for native app development. Some of the established players that use Flutter are Alibaba, Birch Finance and Google AdWords.

React Native is already seeing Flutter as a close competitor. Yes, since Flutter is still very new, businesses could be wary of using it due to stability and reliability issues. But then, it’s Google that’s behind Flutter, so we could expect the framework to become even more stable and reliable with further iterations in the near future.

Evon Technologies has an expert team of developers who have demonstrable experience of using React Native and can efficiently adapt to Flutter for creating attractive cross-platform apps. Whether you’re a start-up looking forward to creating an MVP or an existing business looking forward to shifting to Flutter, contact Evon Technologies, we promise to get back to you shortly to get you started.

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Application requirements have changed drastically in recent years. For any application to succeed in this era of cloud computing, big data and IoT, going reactive is increasingly becoming a norm.

Today’s users embrace applications that have milliseconds of response time, 100% uptime, lower latency, higher throughput and scalability. However, these features are nearly impossible to achieve by using yesterday’s software architecture that enabled applications having tens of servers, long response time, hours of offline maintenance and gigabytes of data. There’s now a need for systems that are built for distributed environment, and which can deal effectively with petabyte of data and cloud-based clusters running thousands of multi-core processors.

This is a major reason why many businesses are adopting Reactive Systems for building applications that provide high-end user-experience and help beat the competition.

Let’s get into details of what Reactive Systems bring on the table for your application and how they work.

Top Four Traits of Reactive Systems:

Responsiveness

If an application user doesn’t get timely response, they will go somewhere else because they are not getting the value they expect from your application. Having a reactive System prevents that by responding in real-time. Besides, such systems are capable of detecting errors quickly and fixing them effectively. Being able to provide consistent response times helps comply with tighter SLAs of today, grow confidence in end users and make your app highly interactive.

Responsiveness heavily relies on two other aspects of Reactive Systems: Resilience and Elasticity. Let’s see how.

Resilience

If a system is not resilient, it will not be able to respond under failure, making responsiveness a lost feature of your app. By using replication, isolation and delegation, you can have a Reactive System that is resilient and responsive even under failure. When components are isolated from each other, they can fail and recover without leading to the failure of the system as a whole. Delegation allows another (external) component to take the responsibility of recovery of each component, whereas replication ensures high-availability whenever required.

Elasticity

As workload can vary from time to time, your application should have the ability to stay responsive even under high workload. According to Reactive Manifesto, “Reactive Systems can react to changes in the input rate by increasing or decreasing the resources allocated to service these inputs.”

Isolation of components from each other and no sharing of resources pave the way for replication. Which translates into running multiple instances of a component at once and splitting the inputs between them. The inputs become asynchronous messages, allowing instances to independently receive different messages. All the instances only deal with the messages they receive, and do not show concern for ordering of a message in relation to other messages. Also, there’s no need to care about how other instances are dealing with their messages.

As a result, it becomes possible to scale up or scale down as many or as few instances of a component running at once as required. This property of growing or shrinking as needed is referred to as “elasticity”.

Message-Driven

Reactive systems are message-driven and use asynchronous message-passing to create a boundary between components. This brings the much-needed loose coupling, isolation and location transparency in the systems. With a boundary established between components, failures go as messages.

Due to this message-driven nature, the system responds in a sensible way when any component comes under stress. The component can’t fail, so it sends a message to the system, telling the fact that it needs other components to reduce its load. This feature is called back-pressure. Message queue monitoring and action-taking ability makes the system capable of managing load, elasticity, and flow control.

How Loose Coupling boosts Performance of Reactive Applications?

Going reactive means using a set of design principles to create cohesive pieces of software that solve individual problems efficiently through “separation of concerns” and “loose coupling”. The architecture of Reactive Systems is so designed that multiple individual components of the software conflate as a single unit and react to changes.

To better understand, let’s take an example. A software that has tightly coupled components would look something like this.

It might be your hard work, but it will not be able deal effectively with a change. All of them would probably fall if anyone of them moves out of the place. So, if your software does not have components that are independent of each other, they won’t be able to work properly in the absence of others.

Now, look at this.

Well, this is made of small reusable components that can be arranged in different ways to solve different problems.

But, think about the effort and the cost that will take for converting it into something showed below.

Besides high cost and time, this might also prove to be a headache for your technical team.

The Takeaway: even if your software architecture has small, reusable pieces, it’s not enough to effectively deal with a change, as new requirements may demand a complete rewrite of huge parts of your system.

Now, look at this.

The picture says it all about how easy it is to change from one shape to another. All you need is to add some toothpicks and balls or remove them to create a different shape. Since the balls are totally decoupled from each other, they can be easily linked with any other through a common interface (the toothpick).

Such a software architecture design makes it possible to effectively react to a change and solve different problems through resilience, elasticity and responsiveness. The picture has its limits and just serves as an example to make it easier to understand what do we mean by decoupling or loose coupling.

What Reactive Programming holds for Reactive Systems?

Reactive Programming is a popular method of writing codes to create components and compose workflows in Reactive Systems. The programming method is event-driven and helps increase utilization of computing resources on multicore and multi-CPU hardware. Besides, developers using Reactive Programming find it easy to deal with asynchronous and nonblocking I/O. What makes Reactive Programming a good fit for developing Reactive Systems is the removal of explicit coordination between active components.

Below are some links to case studies of businesses going reactive, and thereby boosting growth

How America’s largest telecommunications provider Verizon is drawing benefits from going reactive

UK’s online gaming leader invests big on reactive to drive personalization

Walmart sees 20% hike in conversion rates after going reactive

Wix.com user base grows from 5 to 50 million after going reactive

The idea of going reactive is not new as dates back to 1970s. However, it’s only been in the past few years that the emergence of new tools and technologies have helped developers turn the idea into reality by composing complex tasks with ease. Going by the context of multicore, Cloud and Mobile architectures, the future of modern web is reactive. Business giants, like Netflix, Slack, Microsoft and Facebook, have already started to power themselves by going reactive, with many more businesses awaited to jump on what has now become the bandwagon.

For any queries related to Reactive Systems and Reactive Programming, get in touch with us using the comment box below.

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