Philly ETE 2015 #3 – Ben Christensen – Applying Reactive Programming to Existing Applications

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Slides from Ben’s talk are also available here.


Rarely do we have a chance to rewrite an application from scratch with the newest techniques. Generally we must work within our existing architectures evolving and refactoring years of code. This can make it seem reactive programming either can’t be introduced or doesn’t play a role.

Netflix has been doing reactive programming with RxJava in production for several years and only recently embarked on “greenfield” development efforts that are fully async. This talk will leverage the experience of introducing reactive programming into existing imperative, blocking codebases to demonstrate how it can be done and when it can make sense to do so. Not all benefits of reactive programming can be obtained without a greenfield, fully async architecture, but many can. Subjects to be covered will include the mental shift from imperative to declarative, working with blocking IO such as JDBC and RPC, service composition, debugging and unit testing.

About Ben Christensen:

Ben Christensen is a software engineer on the Netflix Edge Engineering team responsible for communication between Netflix devices and its cloud services. Recently involved in open source projects such as Hystrix and RxJava.