So what is an Observable? Essentially, it's just a stream of data that can be subscribed to. When new data is published by the observable, all its subscribers will receive this data. This simple way of thinking about and handling data has many benefits in today's world of asynchronous web applications. Take a real-time chat application, for example. As new messages are received and published by the observable, its subscribers can receive these messages and manipulate or display them in many different places at once.
Perhaps the most powerful tools in the Observable arsenal are the many operators available to process and manipulate data streams. Many of these operators are based on concepts borrowed from functional languages, earning this programming paradigm the name 'functional reactive programming'. If you have used a data querying framework like LINQ before, you might already be familiar with how some of these operators function.
Understanding how Observables work is especially important for developers working with modern front-end frameworks. However, with more and more ReactiveX libraries popping up across different programming languages, it could be a useful tool in the kit for any developer who works with asynchronous programming.
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