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Flow-Based Programming, 2nd Edition: A New Approach to Application Development 2nd Edition
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About the Author
Paul was born John Paul Rodker, the son of John Rodker, writer, translator, and publisher, and the artist, Barbara Stanger McKenzie-Smith, in London, England. His name was changed to Morrison by deed poll when his mother remarried. He was educated at Eton and King's College, Cambridge, where he studied Anthropology and Archaeology. He joined IBM UK in 1959, moved to the US where he worked for 5 years, and then moved to Canada and became a Canadian citizen. He retired from IBM in 1992, worked for a bank for 2 1/2 years, and then as a contractor for 10 more years. He now lives in Unionville, Ontario.
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That said, it's a very interesting and fruitful paradigm, both for its potential for visual programming and for inherent concurrency, so its a shame that this is the only real source on it.
The Kindle edition has no useful ToC and no valid page number references. For this reason, I wanted to return my copy, but it was too late. I recommend you read the free first edition on the author's website, for the perspective that it can provide if you haven't been exposed to similar ideas before (Actors, Dataflow,) but don't waste your money on the second edition, as not much has changed (although it definitely should have.)
If you are a programmer writing conventional programs using standard programming languages such as C++ and Java you've probably learned the hard way that concurrency is hard, that code usually isn't reusable, and that translating design into actual programs is a lot of work. There is a better way; it's called flow based programming.
In this book Morrison explains the principles of flow based programming. Conventional programs are structured around the flow of control; flow based programming is based upon flow of data. In FBP applications are developed by creating a network of components. Each FBP component acts like independent mini-process with input and output ports. Information is transferred between components using data flow channels. Systems are built by specifying the flow of information in the system.
Flow based programming promises easy and natural concurrency, real reusability, and easy translation of design into code. It's an attractive idea, but does it work? Morrison says yes and shows us how and why. This is a distillation of decades of experience with real life systems. It talks about structuring components, structuring networks, and building applications.
It also discusses the relationship of the flow based paradigm to other programming paradigms such as object oriented programming and functional programming. In the final sections it surveys other languages and projects that are conceptually related.
The one complaint that I have with the book is that it does not have an index.