Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Reactive Extensions for .NET an Introduction

STOP THE PRESS! This series has now been superseded by the online book www.IntroToRx.com. The new site/book offers far better explanations, samples and depth of content. I hope you enjoy!


Welcome to my series introducing Reactive Extensions to .NET (Rx). This series is aimed at any .NET developer curious about the IObservable<T> and IObserver<T> interfaces that have popped up in .NET 4. However Rx is a library so, Silverlight 3 & Silverlight 4 developers as well as .NET 3.5, Windows Phone and JavaScript coders can download the library. Rx is big. It is big in allsorts of ways:
  1. In the way that it tackles the Observer pattern is bold
  2. In the way it tackles concurrency is quite a shift from how I have done it before.
  3. The number of (extension) methods is huge.
  4. The way in which it integrates with LINQ to leverage LINQ's composability & declarative style
  5. The fact that any .NET developer should care. UI developer, backend algorithm coder or integrator; It helps all of us.
  6. The future plans are even more grand, but that is a different series all together :-)
In this series I will introduce you to:
  • the new types the Rx will provide
  • the extension methods and how to use them
  • how to manage subscriptions to "streams" of data
  • how to deal with concurrency to your advantage and avoid the common old pitfalls
  • how to compose, aggregate and transform streams
  • how to build workflows with Rx
  • some tips and tricks I have picked while using Rx over the past months.
So download the assemblies to reference, fire up Visual Studio and let's get started:
The full source code is now available either via SVN at http://code.google.com/p/rx-samples/source/checkout or as a zip file.
Edit – This series of posts was first created in mid 2010. The Rx framework has gone through numerous changes during and after the writing of these posts. I am constantly making an effort to ensure that the blog stays as current as I can make it –Lee Campbell
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9 comments:

Jim Wooley said...

Don't forget that RX is also packaged in the Windows Phone 7 Series libraries and a variant is available in SQL Server 2008 r2 Stream Insight.

C. L. Phillip said...

These tutorials are awesome. It would be great it you bundled them into a PDF for distribution :)

Lee Campbell said...

@C.L.Phillips I will see what I can do :)
I have a few more posts to do and then I will try to make sure I can release a 3.5 and a 4.0 version that matches the latest Rx build (the API has changes twice since I started this series).

Matt Hickford said...

How can I feedback on your new introtorx.com website?

Lee Campbell said...

@Matt, on the home page http://introtorx.com/ there is a link to the Rx forums (MSDN) where you can leave suggestions. Feel free to alternatively leave comments/suggestions here or tweet them to me @LeeRyanCampbell

Looking forward to your feedback!

Anonymous said...

Hi, is there a plan to update introtorx.com to RX 2.0?

Lee Campbell said...

There are no immediate plans to upgrade the site to cater for Rx 2.0 or 2.1. The first edition was a very large commitment, and I dont feel I actually have used Rx 2.x enough to consider myself any sort of authority on it.
In the meantime I am working on an Rx 'cookbook' at RxCookbook on github

Sudhir DBAKings said...

Nice post very helpful
DBAKings

Anonymous said...

Hi Lee - intro to Rx is an excellent resource! There's a small issue in the Timeout section; the example using a TimeSpan would actually output 0-9, rather than 0-4. Great stuff though. Thank you, Julius