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World dominating reactive web-framework :

Quora Answer : What do you think has been the most significant innovation in programming languages in the past 10 years?

Sep 5, 2019

If you are looking for something invented in the last 10 years, which I think has had a genuinely massive impact in how we work and think, and which isn't quite programming language and isn't quite new, but is programming languagey enough, and new-ish (to most people), then I'd say React.

10 years ago everyone was using JQuery or something similar.

The fundamental ideas of React :

  • components defined declaratively,
  • components updated automatically, reacting to data changes

were largely unknown except to a few programming language researchers 10 years ago. Now they've become almost mainstream expectations.

You see similar in, say, Flutter and Elm.

I think we're going to see more of this reactive way of thinking in other areas too. Not just UIs. But large chunks of architecture in our software could actually be represented the same way : a declarative overview, and some specific stateless transformations that get triggered automatically.

I'm sure we'll see this for CI/CD pipelines. For machine learning pipelines. Why not for even large web applications and enterprise software?

A couple of years ago I started wondering why I couldn't treat my file-system the way I use JQuery to access the DOM.

So I wrote interstar/FSQuery, which I find very useful.

Now I wonder what would happen if you tried the same trick with a React-like approach to a file-system.

What if I had a project represented as a tree of files on my machine. But I could think about that tree of files as a number of templates with dependencies on external data? If it automatically watched some kind of database and regenerated the tree every time that database changed?

I imagine using this for report writing. For code generation. For doing pretty much anything which is made out of files.

So, yeah, I vote React as the most significant new mainstream idea of the last 10 year.

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