Gavial: Programming the web with multi-tier FRP

Bob Reynders, Frank Piessens, Dominique Devriese

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Developing web applications requires dealing with their distributed nature and the natural asynchronicity of user input and network communication. For facilitating this, different researchers have explored the combination of a multi-tier programming language and functional reactive programming. However, existing proposals take this approach only part of the way (some parts of the application remain imperative) or remain naive, with no regard for avoiding glitches across network communication, network traffic overhead, compatibility with common APIs like XMLHttpRequest etc. In this paper, we present Gavial: the first mature design and implementation of multi-tier FRP that allows constructing an entire web application as a functionally reactive program. By applying a number of new ideas, we demonstrate that multi-tier FRP can in fact deal realistically with important practical aspects of building web applications. At the same time, we retain the declarative nature of FRP, where behaviors and events have an intuitive, compositional semantics and a clear dependency structure.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6
JournalThe Art, Science, and Engineering of Programming
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2020
EventProgramming: The International Conference on the Art, Science and Engineering of Programming - Porto, Portugal
Duration: 25 Mar 202026 Mar 2020


  • cs.PL


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