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Communications of the ACM

Practice

Dynamics of Change: Why Reactivity Matters


Dynamics of Change, illustration

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Professional programming is about dealing with software at scale. Everything is trivial when the problem is small and contained: it can be elegantly solved with imperative programming or functional programming or any other paradigm. Real-world challenges arise when programmers have to deal with large amounts of data, network requests, or intertwined entities, as in user interface (UI) programming.

Of these different types of challenges, managing the dynamics of change in a code base is a common one that may be encountered in either UI programming or the back end. How to structure the flow of control and concurrency among multiple parties that need to update one another with new information is referred to as managing change. In both UI programs and servers, concurrency is typically present and is responsible for most of the challenges and complexity.


 

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