RxJava: Combining Observables

- 7 mins

Merging

Merges multiple Observables to one Observable. The merged Observables can be cold or hot, and there is no rule about the ordering between the merged Observables. Operators:

fun main() {
    val letters1 = Observable.just("Alpha", "Beta")
    val letters2 = Observable.just("Gamma", "Delta")
    val letters3 = Observable.just("Epsilon", "Digamma")
    val symbols1 = Observable.just("α", "β")
    val symbols2 = Observable.just("γ", "δ")
    val symbols3 = Observable.just("ε", "ϝ")
    val list = listOf(letters1, letters2, letters3, symbols1, symbols2, symbols3)
    Observable.merge(list)
        .subscribe *{*i *->*println("Received: $i") *}*
}
Received: Alpha
Received: Beta
Received: Gamma
Received: Delta
Received: Epsilon
Received: Digamma
Received: α
Received: β
Received: γ
Received: δ
Received: ε
Received: ϝ

flatMap()

This operator maps emission to Observables (cold or hot) (the new Observable can empty or emit one or many emissions). Operators:

fun main() {
    Observable.just("Alpha", "Beta", "Gamma", "Delta", "Epsilon")
        .flatMap { Observable.fromArray(*it.toCharArray().toTypedArray()) } // String to Array<Char>
        .subscribe { i -> println("Received: $i") }
}
Received: A
Received: l
Received: p
Received: h
Received: a
Received: B
Received: e
...

Concatenation

Concatenation will fire elements of each provided Observable sequentially and in the order specified. It will not move on to the next Observable until the current one calls onComplete(). Concatenation should be preferred when order matters, otherwise, prefer merging instead. Operators:

fun main() {
    val letters = Observable.just("Alpha", "Beta", "Gamma")
    val symbols = Observable.just("α", "β", "γ")
    Observable.concat(letters, symbols)
        .subscribe { i -> println("Received: $i") }
}
Received: Alpha
Received: Beta
Received: Gamma
Received: α
Received: β
Received: γ

concatMap

This operator behaves almost like flatMap() with the difference that it cares about ordering:

fun main() {
    Observable.just("Alpha", "Beta", "Gamma", "Delta", "Epsilon")
        .concatMap { Observable.fromArray(*it.toCharArray().toTypedArray()) } // String to Array<Char>
        .subscribe { i -> println("Received: $i") }
}
Received: A
Received: l
Received: p
Received: h
Received: a
Received: B
Received: e
...

Ambiguous

The Observable.amb() factory (ambstands for ambiguous) accepts an Iterable<Observable<T>> and emit the emissions of the first Observable that emits, while the others are disposed of. Operators:

fun main() {
    // Emit every 1s
    val source1 = Observable.interval(1, TimeUnit.SECONDS)
        .map { it + 1 }
        .map { "Source1: $it" }

    // Emit every 500ms.
    val source2 = Observable.interval(500, TimeUnit.MILLISECONDS)
        .map { (it + 1) * 500 }
        .map { "Source2: $it" }

    val sources = listOf(source1, source2)
    Observable.amb(sources)
        .subscribe { i -> println("Received: $i") }

    TimeUnit.SECONDS.sleep(3)
}
Received: Source2: 500
Received: Source2: 1000
Received: Source2: 1500
Received: Source2: 2000
Received: Source2: 2500
Received: Source2: 3000

Zipping

Zip takes an emission from each Observable source and combine it into a single emission. Operators:

fun main() {
    val symbols = Observable.just('α', 'β', 'γ')
    val letters = Observable.just("Alpha", "Beta", "Gamma", "Delta")
    Observable.zip(symbols, letters, BiFunction { s: Char, l: String -> s to l }) //RxJava BiFunction
        .subscribe { println("Receive: $it") }
}
Receive: (α, Alpha)
Receive: (β, Beta)
Receive: (γ, Gamma)

Combine Latest

When one source fires, it couples with the latest emissions from the others:

fun main() {
    val source1 = Observable.interval(500, TimeUnit.MILLISECONDS)
    val source2 = Observable.interval(1, TimeUnit.SECONDS)
    Observable.combineLatest(source1, source2, BiFunction { s1: Long, s2: Long -> s1 to s2 }) //RxJava BiFunction
        .subscribe { println("Receive: $it") }
    TimeUnit.SECONDS.sleep(3)
}
Receive: (1, 0)
Receive: (2, 0)
Receive: (2, 1)
Receive: (3, 1)
Receive: (4, 1)
Receive: (5, 1)
Receive: (5, 2)

withLatestFrom()

It will map each emission with the latest values from other Observables and combine them (only take _one_emission from each):

fun main() {
    val source1 = Observable.interval(500, TimeUnit.MILLISECONDS)
    val source2 = Observable.interval(1, TimeUnit.SECONDS)
    source2.withLatestFrom(source1, BiFunction { s1: Long, s2: Long -> s1 to s2 })
        .subscribe { println("Receive: $it") }
    TimeUnit.SECONDS.sleep(3)
}
Receive: (0, 1)
Receive: (1, 2)
Receive: (2, 4)

Grouping

Group emissions by a specified key into separate Observables:

fun main() {
    Observable.just("Alpha", "Beta", "Gamma", "Delta", "Epsilon")
        .groupBy { it.length }
        .flatMapSingle { it.toList() }
        .subscribe { println("Receive: $it") }
}
Receive: [Beta]
Receive: [Alpha, Gamma, Delta]
Receive: [Epsilon]
Mouaad Aallam

Mouaad Aallam

Computer Software Engineer

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