Go Reactive

A reactive streams library for Go in the spirit of Reactive Extensions implemented with generic functions. The library was born as I wanted a Reactive Extensions library for Go that is type safe (e.g. no interface{}, otherwise I would’ve used RxGo) and could not yet find one.

The library is still in its infancy and thus sparse in terms of documentation and features. The general concepts from RxGo and from the ReactiveX do apply, so if you’re new to reactive streams, you may want to browse these for an introduction to the concept.

The stream package

The stream package provides the Observable interface and the core functions.

The Observable in this take on reactive streams is defined as:

type Observable[T any] interface {
	Observe(ctx context.Context, next(func T) error) error

The next function is called on each element. To retain good stack traces the next function is called from the goroutine that called Observe. A non-nil error returned by next it will close the stream and this error is returned by Observe.

The call to Observe is blocking and returns if:

  • ctx provided by the observer is closed
  • next returns an error
  • the observable encounters an error

The core functions that operate on Observable[T] are divided into:

  • sources that create Observables
  • operators that transform Observables
  • sinks that terminate the Observable

Since Go’s generics does not yet allow new type parameters in methods, all of these are implemented as top-level functions rather than methods in the Observable interface (e.g. as it is with RxGo and usual implementations).

Getting started

As a first example, we’ll implement a simple source Observable that emits a single integer:

type singleIntegerObservable int

func (num singleIntegerObservable) Observe(ctx context.Context, next func(int) error) error {
	if ctx.Err() != nil {
        	// Context already cancelled, stop before emitting items.
		return ctx.Err()
	return next(int(num))

We can now try it out with the Map operator:

func main() {
	var ten stream.Observable[int] = singleIntegerObservable(10)

	twenty := stream.Map(ten, func(x int) int) { return x * 2 })

	twenty.Observe(context.Background(), func(x int) error {
		fmt.Printf("%d\n", x)
		return nil

Instead of defining a new type every time we want to implement Observe, we can use the FuncObservable wrapper:

func singleInt(x int) stream.Observable[int] {
	return stream.FuncObservable(func(ctx context.Context, next func(int) error) error {
		if ctx.Err() != nil {
			// Context already cancelled, stop before emitting items.
			return ctx.Err()
		return next(x)

Tour of the operators

Sources provide different ways of creating Observables without implementing Observe by hand:

Single(10)                 // emits 10
Error(errors.New("oh no")) // returns error without emitting items
Empty()                    // returns nil error without emitting items
FromSlice([]int{1,2,3})    // emits 1,2,3 and completes
FromChannel(in)            // emits items from the given channel
Interval(time.Second)      // emits items from sequence 0,1,... once a second
Range(0,3)                 // emits 0,1,2 and completes

Operators transform streams in different ways:

// Map[A, B any](src Observable[A], apply func(A) B) Observable[B]
Map(src, apply)            // applies function 'apply' to each item.

// ParallelMap[A, B any](src Observable[A], par int, apply func(A) B) Observable[B]
ParallelMap(src, 4, apply) // applies function 'apply' to each item using 4 parallel workers.

// FlatMap[A, B any](src Observable[A], apply func(A) Observable[B]) Observable[B]
FlatMap(src, apply)        // applies function 'apply' to each item. 'apply' returns an observable
                           // that is then flattened (Observable[Observable[B]] => Observable[B]).

// Filter[T any](src Observable[T], filter func(T) bool) Observable[T]
Filter(src, filter)        // applies function 'filter' to each item. If 'filter' returns false the
                           // item is dropped.

// Reduce[T, Result any](src Observable[T], init Result, reduce func(T, Result) Result) Observable[Result]
Reduce(src, 0, reduce)     // applies function 'reduce' to each item to "reduce" the stream into a single value.
Reduce(Range(0, 10), 0, func(x, result int) int { return x + result })

// Concat[T any](srcs ...Observable[T]) Observable[T]
Concat(Range(0, 10), Range(10, 20)) == Range(0,20)

// Broadcast[T any](ctx context.Context, bufSize int, src Observable[T]) Observable[T]
// Creates an observable that broadcasts each element from the source to all observers
// of the returned observable.
Broadcast(ctx, 16, FromChannel(events))

// Merge[T any](srcs ...Observable[T]) Observable[T]
Merge(Range(0, 10), Range(10, 20)) // values 0 to 19 in undefined order

// Delay[T any](src Observable[T], interval time.Duration) Observable[T]
Delay(src, time.Second)    // emit at most one value per second

// OnNext[T any](src Observable[T], fn func(T)) Observable[T]
OnNext(src, fn)            // insert the function 'fn' to be called before each item

// Retry[T any](src Observable[T], shouldRetry func(err error) bool) Observable[T]
Retry(src, func(err error) bool { return true }) // always retry if 'src' completes with error

// Take[T any](n int, src Observable[T]) Observable[T]
Take(10, src)              // take 10 items from 'src' and then complete it.

// Buffer[T any](src Observable[T], bufSize int, strategy BackpressureStrategy) Observable[T]
Buffer(src, 16, BackpressureDrop) // buffer up to 16 items from 'src' and drop items if buffer is full

// SplitHead[T any](src Observable[T]) (head Observable[T], tail Observable[T])
SplitHead(Range(0,10)) => (Single(0), Range(1,10))

Sinks consume streams:

// First[T any](ctx context.Context, src Observable[T]) (item T, err error)
// Takes the first item from the observable and then cancels it.
item, err := First(ctx, src)

// ToSlice[T any](ctx context.Context, src Observable[T]) (items []T, err error)
// Converts the observable into a slice.
items, err := ToSlice(ctx, src)

// ToChannels[T any](ctx context.Context, src Observable[T]) (<-chan T, <-chan error)
// Converts the observable into items channel and errors channel.
items, errs := ToChannels(ctx, src)

// Discard[T any](ctx context.Context, src Observable[T]) error
err := Discard(ctx, src)

Additional sources

Included in this repository are also some additional sources:


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