At moldedbits, we love reactive programming. The power of reactive lies in the operators, so we have created a github repo with examples for all the different operators. We are starting a series of blog posts to accompany the samples. This is first in that series.

The first section we will cover is operators for creating Observables.

Basic operators

Code is here and here.

Some simple operators to create an observable are

Observable.just(1, 2); // emits the given parameters.
Observable.range(1, 5); // emits a range of sequential integers
Observable.just(1, 2).repeat(2); // repeats the sequence of items

Sometimes we need edge case observables for writing tests. These can be created as

Observable.empty() // emits nothing and then completes
Observable.never() // emits nothing at all
Observable.error(new Exception("Sample exception")) // emits nothing and signals an error


Note: This is for advanced use only, and should be used sparingly.

Things get more interesting when we get to Observable.create. The official documentation says that create “Provides an API (via a cold Observable) that bridges the reactive world with the callback-style world.” and its type signature is

public static <T> Observable<T> create(ObservableOnSubscribe<T> source)

We took the official sample code, and completed it. The following sample creates an Observable that emits the click events on a view as a stream.

We will need an AutoClosable, which can clean up once the observable completes. For this we created a ClickProvider, which when subscribed to starts listening for click events on a view, and when closed unsets the listener.

static class ClickProvider implements AutoCloseable {
    private View view;
    private View.OnClickListener onClickListener;
    ClickProvider(View view) {
        this.view = view;
    ClickProvider listen(Callback callback) {
        onClickListener = callback::onEvent;
        return this;
    public void close() throws Exception {

An interface to receive those events,

interface Callback {
    void onEvent(View view);
    void onFailure(Exception e);

And finally we can create the observable as,

Observable<View> observable = Observable.create(emitter -> {
    Callback callback = new Callback() {
        public void onEvent(View view) {
        public void onFailure(Exception e) {
    AutoCloseable c = clickProvider.listen(callback);

Another interesting operator is generate. Its many signatures can get confusing, so we created samples.

Generate takes as parameters an initialState as the starting point, an emitter that creates new events, and a disposableState that handles the stream completion.

A simple example is

// Returns initial state as 3
Callable<Integer> initialState = () -> 3;

// Takes an integer and emits a polygon with that many sides
BiFunction<Integer, Emitter<Polygon>, Integer> emitter =
    (integer, polygonEmitter) -> {
        if (integer < 6) {
            polygonEmitter.onNext(new Polygon(integer++));
        } else {
        return integer;

// Takes the final state and does any required cleanup
Consumer<Integer> disposableState = integer -> ... );

Observable.generate(initialState, emitter, disposableState)

See also: Deferring Observable code until subscription in RxJava by Dan Lew

Defer makes sure that your observable code does not run until it is subscribed, and creates a fresh observable for each subscription.

An interesting use case is getting the latest value of an object’s field.

// Polygon.kt (Kotlin)
class Polygon(var sides: Int) {

    fun createObservable(): Observable<Int> {
        return Observable.just(sides)

    fun deferObservable(): Observable<Int> {
        return Observable.defer { Observable.just(sides) }

fun test() {
    val polygon: Polygon = Polygon(3)
    val createObservable = polygon.createObservable()
    val deferObservable = polygon.deferObservable()
    polygon.sides = 4

    createObservable.subscribe { Log.d(TAG, "$it") } // Prints 3
    deferObservable.subscribe { Log.d(TAG, " $it") } // Prints 4

Some of the most useful operators to create Observables are the ones that convert from Iterable, Callable and Future to Observables. All the samples are here

RxKotlin adds convenience methods to convert from kotlin.collections.MutableList and kotlin.collections.List to Observables.

String[] arr = new String[] {"this", "is", "an", "array"};

Publisher<String> publisher = s -> {
    for (int i=0; i<4; i++) {
        s.onNext("String " + i);
// FromKotlin.kt
listOf("this", "is", "a", "string").toObservable()
                .subscribe { ... }

There are a few other operators to create observables. They are self explanatory and the sample code can be found in the rx_operators repo.


In this post we covered the different operators for creating observables. In the next posts, we will look at how we can transform the observables.

Happy coding!

The moldedbits Team

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