Arctis: Modeling Reactive Java Components

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Standard Talk [25 minutes]

Arctis is a tool that helps you to develop, analyze and generate reactive Java applications graphically, by plugging together building blocks.

Coding in Java is both productive and fun. But there are applications that are difficult to code properly, especially when they are reactive and have to handle many events concurrently. Such applications get more and more relevant, for instance for mobile devices, machine-to-machine (M2M) solutions, embedded applications, or what some call the Internet of Things. Even if you manage to program these applications right, their code is often difficult to understand for yourself and others, not to speak about maintaining and adapting it later.

In Arctis, reactive applications are modeled graphically, using well-known data flows (UML activities). But that's only half of the fun: Data flow models are organized as special building blocks, that can be selected from libraries and connected, simply by wiring them together. With these building blocks it is easy to specify concurrent behavior. Arctis also checks automatically if the application runs into any deadlocks or does otherwise behave strange, and explains with animations what can go wrong.

What's new with Arctis is the way it integrates with Java and JDT: Arctis does not try to replace programming. (Some things are just fine in code, and that's okay.) Instead, Arctis models the parts of an application that are difficult and cumbersome to express in code anyways, and instead generates the executable implementations automatically. In addition, there are already many existing building blocks that are ready to integrate, for example to handle authentication via OAuth, use location services from Android, or easily use communication like XMPP in any application. Arctis can generate standalone Java applications, OSGi bundles or Android applications, and works integrated with other SDKs in Eclipse.

Arctis is a result of research at the Department of Telematics at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), and is further developed by a spin-off, Bitreactive. Arctis is currently closed source, but free for non-commercial use. More information about Arctis is available via

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