Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Reacting to the Reactive Framework: Part 8

Today I caught wind of some news that was bound to rouse me from my blogging slumber. The Reactive Framework, now known as Reactive Extensions (or Rx for short) has been released on DevLabs. The good news is that this release includes versions for .NET 3.5, .NET 4 Beta 2 and Silverlight 3, and documentation. The bad news is that at this stage, the documentation is pretty sparse - single sentence summaries and zero examples. Certainly, the summaries will help developer make sense of the impressive range of extension methods available on IObservable. For example, the comment on the rather cryptically named Amb - Returns the observable sequence that reacts first - makes its purpose quite clear, even if it doesn’t help explain the name. However the same cannot be said for all the cases, such as Dematerialize - Dematerializes the explicit notification values of an observable sequence as implicit notifications. Perhaps that will make sense once I understand the difference between explicit and implicit notifications, but its unlikely that the documentation (in its current form) will help me understand this. No matter - this intermediate release is certainly welcome and I now look forward to diving back in to Rx with at least some clue of what things are supposed to do :)

If you are interested in the Reactive Extensions I recommend you check out the team blog. The announcement post has plenty of links for you to click and learn more. I also recommend Matt Podwysocki’s series of Rx posts. Also, don’t forget that now Rx is on DevLabs, there’s a dedicated forum.