Object-oriented programming is a fundamental programming model. It is used by most software developers at some point in their careers. It is among the most popular programming types used in the development of software.
Today we bring you this blog post to explain to you all about object-oriented programming and its various features and benefits so you can be well-informed about it and how it works. For all this and more, keep reading for more information.
Object-oriented programming or OOP for short is a model for computer programming or computer science. It works by organising software design around data, classes or objects that are linked closely with the methods that they are associated with that developers want to manipulate. This is as opposed to functions and logic that are required to manipulate them.
OOP is used to structure software programmes into simple and reusable pieces of code blueprints, which are usually called ‘classes’.
A class is an abstract blueprint that creates objects that are more specific and concrete. Classes share class attributes that often represent broad categories such as the category of ‘colour’ is broad, but it doesn’t have attributes and methods for a singular and specific colour, it is just the category of colour. The same applies to classes, it does not hold value for a specific object.
Object-oriented programming is so popular amongst developers it is even taught as the standard way to code for most of a programmer’s career. That along with functional programming is another main type of programming.
The simplest way of explaining object-oriented programming is by using an example - object-oriented programming can be explained by using the example of a car.
A car will have a brand name, model name, year of manufacturing, colour, engine size and other specifications. Manufacturers can create and then recreate the same car but in a different year, in a different colour and with other different specifications and features.
Each time the car manufacturer creates a new version of the car, they are using the same ways to make it. The car is the object in this instance, and it is here we would reuse the code from the original car-making, or the original object within the object-oriented programming to create new. Therefore reusing the same object code.
There are many benefits to object-oriented programming for the real world including the following list:
There are four principles of object-oriented programming. These are encapsulation, abstraction, inheritance and polymorphism. It is these principles that can help programmers write more flexible, maintainable and testable code.
The encapsulation principle entails that all properties and methods of an object are kept private and safe from interference from other individual objects.
Objects can have private variables which cannot be used by other objects and also public variables and methods, which can.
With the car example from earlier, we give the example of the colour, model and year would be the example of private variables, as they are variables that cannot be changed by other objects.
Abstraction helps with programs that are large and have thousands of lines of code. This can be difficult to maintain which is where abstract helps us. Abstraction can be seen as an extension of encapsulation.
It is the abstraction that allows objects to work without it needing to know how the code works, it just needs to work. The extent of how it works is irrelevant to other objects interacting with the object.
An example of a video game would include an ‘attack’ feature for the main character. The enemy in the game does not need to know or be aware of how the attack on them works. The hero and the enemy will just be affected by the attack.
As a driver of your car, you do not need to know how your car is able to start when you put the key into the ignition. The sound of the engine starting up is enough for you to know you are ready to drive away.
Inheritance is all about using the same code, but extending it for different purposes. Inheritance relies on the principles of abstraction with which we gain the ability to abstract away.
Some objects can share the same code but they are not exactly the same, inheritance programmers extract the logic from one object (this is called the parent) to another object (this is called the child).
Using inheritance is a lot easier than creating a brand-new object with brand-new code each time, as this would make a program’s code more complex.
The word polymorphism comes from the Greek word, ‘many shapes’ and this is what it is all about within the four principles of object-oriented programming. It allows programmers to use an object exactly the same as its parent whilst keeping its own methods. This is because the child may have a different way of implementing a method.
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