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Side effects are both the essence and bane of imperative programming. The programmer must carefully coordinate actions to manage their side effects upon each other. Such coordination is complex, error-prone, and fragile. Coherent reaction is a new model of change-driven computation that coordinates effects automatically. State changes trigger events called reactions that in turn change other states. A coherent execution order is one in which each reaction executes before any others that are affected by its changes. A coherent order is discovered iteratively by detecting incoherencies as they occur and backtracking their effects. Unlike alternative solutions, much of the power of imperative programming is retained, as is the common sense notion of mutable state. Automatically coordinating actions lets the programmer express what to do, not when to do it. Coherent reactions are embodied in the Coherence language, which is specialized for interactive applications like those common on the desktop and web. The fundamental building block of Coherence is the dynamically typed mutable tree. The fundamental abstraction mechanism is the virtual tree, whose value is lazily computed, and whose behavior is generated by coherent reactions.
reactive systems, synchronous reactive programming, interactive systems, functional reactive programming, bidirectional functions
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