Strange Loop

September 26-28 2018


Peabody Opera House


St. Louis, MO

Reactive Programming: A Better Way To Write Frontend Applications

Everything that happens in a frontend application is asynchronous; events happen - a user types something, a server responds with data - and our programs react. The traditional approach to this problem is to deal with asynchronous "parts" of your application in callbacks or promises, while working with static data structures and behaving as if the rest of the program were synchronous. After years of writing frontend apps, I still find this confusing and cumbersome. But what if we stopped trying to hide what is asynchronous and accepted that none of our data is static? This is the premise of functional reactive programming. We treat data itself as asynchronous - as streams which represent a snapshot a given value over time, and operations that can transform those values. Functional reactive programming is a major conceptual shift but one that can vastly simply frontend programming. You can use it regardless of what platform, or in the case of the web, what javascript MVC you rely on. It's an amazing technique that is the core of my toolbox in writing frontend apps. I want to help demystify it for you, and show you how you can use FRP today!

Hannah Howard

Carbon Five

Hannah Howard is a senior developer and tech generalist with over 15 years experience in programming and other technical fields. Prior to programming, Hannah worked for 10 years in the non-profit sector in Los Angeles, specializing in LGBT advocacy and community organizing. Hannah returned to coding in 2012, and brings her passion and experience from community organizing to helping new programmers get up to speed on technical topics.