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Object-Oriented Programming

Introduction

What

Can describe OOP at a higher level

Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) is a programming paradigm. A programming paradigm guides programmers to analyze programming problems, and structure programming solutions, in a specific way.

Programming languages have traditionally divided the world into two parts—data and operations on data. Data is static and immutable, except as the operations may change it. The procedures and functions that operate on data have no lasting state of their own; they’re useful only in their ability to affect data.

This division is, of course, grounded in the way computers work, so it’s not one that you can easily ignore or push aside. Like the equally pervasive distinctions between matter and energy and between nouns and verbs, it forms the background against which you work. At some point, all programmers—even object-oriented programmers—must lay out the data structures that their programs will use and define the functions that will act on the data.

With a procedural programming language like C, that’s about all there is to it. The language may offer various kinds of support for organizing data and functions, but it won’t divide the world any differently. Functions and data structures are the basic elements of design.

Object-oriented programming doesn’t so much dispute this view of the world as restructure it at a higher level. It groups operations and data into modular units called objects and lets you combine objects into structured networks to form a complete program. In an object-oriented programming language, objects and object interactions are the basic elements of design.

-- Object-Oriented Programming with Objective-C, Apple

Some other examples of programming paradigms are:

Paradigm Programming Languages
Procedural Programming paradigm C
Functional Programming paradigm F#, Haskell, Scala
Logic Programming paradigm Prolog

Some programming languages support multiple paradigms.

Java is primarily an OOP language but it supports limited forms of functional programming and it can be used to (although not recommended) write procedural code. e.g. se-edu/addressbook-level1

JavaScript and Python support functional, procedural, and OOP programming.

Exercises




Objects

What

Can describe how OOP relates to the real world

Every object has both state (data) and behavior (operations on data). In that, they’re not much different from ordinary physical objects. It’s easy to see how a mechanical device, such as a pocket watch or a piano, embodies both state and behavior. But almost anything that’s designed to do a job does, too. Even simple things with no moving parts such as an ordinary bottle combine state (how full the bottle is, whether or not it’s open, how warm its contents are) with behavior (the ability to dispense its contents at various flow rates, to be opened or closed, to withstand high or low temperatures).

It’s this resemblance to real things that gives objects much of their power and appeal. They can not only model components of real systems, but equally as well fulfill assigned roles as components in software systems.

-- Object-Oriented Programming with Objective-C, Apple

Object Oriented Programming (OOP) views the world as a network of interacting objects.

A real world scenario viewed as a network of interacting objects:

You are asked to find out the average age of a group of people Adam, Beth, Charlie, and Daisy. You take a piece of paper and pen, go to each person, ask for their age, and note it down. After collecting the age of all four, you enter it into a calculator to find the total. And then, use the same calculator to divide the total by four, to get the average age. This can be viewed as the objects You, Pen, Paper, Calculator, Adam, Beth, Charlie, and Daisy interacting to accomplish the end result of calculating the average age of the four persons. These objects can be considered as connected in a certain network of certain structure.

OOP solutions try to create a similar object network inside the computer’s memory – a sort of virtual simulation of the corresponding real world scenario – so that a similar result can be achieved programmatically.

OOP does not demand that the virtual world object network follow the real world exactly.

Our previous example can be tweaked a bit as follows:

  • Use an object called Main to represent your role in the scenario.
  • As there is no physical writing involved, you can replace the Pen and Paper with an object called AgeList that is able to keep a list of ages.

Every object has both state (data) and behavior (operations on data).

Object Real World? Virtual World? Example of State (i.e. Data) Examples of Behavior (i.e. Operations)
Adam Name, Date of Birth Calculate age based on birthday
Pen - Ink color, Amount of ink remaining Write
AgeList - Recorded ages Give the number of entries, Accept an entry to record
Calculator Numbers already entered Calculate the sum, divide
You/Main Average age, Sum of ages Use other objects to calculate

Every object has an interface and an implementation.

Every real world object has:

  • an interface through which other objects can interact with it
  • an implementation that supports the interface but may not be accessible to the other object

The interface and implementation of some real-world objects in our example:

  • Calculator: the buttons and the display are part of the interface; circuits are part of the implementation.
  • Adam: In the context of our 'calculate average age' example, the interface of Adam consists of requests that Adam will respond to, e.g. "Give age to the nearest year, as at Jan 1st of this year" "State your name"; the implementation includes the mental calculation Adam uses to calculate the age which is not visible to other objects.

Similarly, every object in the virtual world has an interface and an implementation.

The interface and implementation of some virtual-world objects in our example:

  • Adam: the interface might have a method getAge(Date asAt); the implementation of that method is not visible to other objects.

Objects interact by sending messages. Both real world and virtual world object interactions can be viewed as objects sending messages to each other. The message can result in the sender object receiving a response and/or the receiver object’s state being changed. Furthermore, the result can vary based on which object received the message, even if the message is identical (see rows 1 and 2 in the example below).

Examples:

World Sender Receiver Message Response State Change
Real You Adam "What is your name?" "Adam" -
Real as above Beth as above "Beth" -
Real You Pen Put nib on paper and apply pressure Makes a mark on your paper Ink level goes down
Virtual Main Calculator (current total is 50) add(int i): int i = 23 73 total = total + 23

Exercises



Objects as abstractions

Can explain the abstraction aspect of OOP

The concept of Objects in OOP is an abstraction mechanism because it allows us to abstract away the lower level details and work with bigger granularity entities i.e. ignore details of data formats and the method implementation details and work at the level of objects.

You can deal with a Person object that represents the person Adam and query the object for Adam's age instead of dealing with details such as Adam’s date of birth (DoB), in what format the DoB is stored, the algorithm used to calculate the age from the DoB, etc.


Encapsulation of objects

Can explain the encapsulation aspect of OOP

Encapsulation protects an implementation from unintended actions and from inadvertent access.
-- Object-Oriented Programming with Objective-C, Apple

An object is an encapsulation of some data and related behavior in terms of two aspects:

1. The packaging aspect: An object packages data and related behavior together into one self-contained unit.

2. The information hiding aspect: The data in an object is hidden from the outside world and are only accessible using the object's interface.

Exercises




Classes

What

Can explain the relationship between classes and objects

Writing an OOP program is essentially writing instructions that the computer will use to,

  1. create the virtual world of the object network, and
  2. provide it the inputs to produce the outcome you want.

A class contains instructions for creating a specific kind of objects. It turns out sometimes multiple objects keep the same type of data and have the same behavior because they are of the same kind. Instructions for creating a 'kind' (or ‘class’) of objects can be done once and those same instructions can be used to i.e. create instances ofinstantiate objects of that kind. You call such instructions a Class.

Classes and objects in an example scenario

Consider the example of writing an OOP program to calculate the average age of Adam, Beth, Charlie, and Daisy.

Instructions for creating objects Adam, Beth, Charlie, and Daisy will be very similar because they are all of the same kind: they all represent ‘persons’ with the same interface, the same kind of data (i.e. name, dateOfBirth, etc.), and the same kind of behavior (i.e. getAge(Date), getName(), etc.). Therefore, you can have a class called Person containing instructions on how to create Person objects and use that class to instantiate objects Adam, Beth, Charlie, and Daisy.

Similarly, you need classes AgeList, Calculator, and Main classes to instantiate one each of AgeList, Calculator, and Main objects.

Class Objects
Person objects representing Adam, Beth, Charlie, Daisy
AgeList an object to represent the age list
Calculator an object to do the calculations
Main an object to represent you (i.e., the one who manages the whole operation)

Exercises

Identify Classes and Objects


Classes for CityConnect app




Class-level members

Can explain class-level members

While all objects of a class have the same attributes, each object has its own copy of the attribute value.

All Person objects have the name attribute but the value of that attribute varies between Person objects.

However, some attributes are not suitable to be maintained by individual objects. Instead, they should be maintained centrally, shared by all objects of the class. They are like ‘global variables’ but attached to a specific class. Such variables whose value is shared by all instances of a class are called class-level attributes.

The attribute totalPersons should be maintained centrally and shared by all Person objects rather than copied at each Person object.

Similarly, when a normal method is being called, a message is being sent to the receiving object and the result may depend on the receiving object.

Sending the getName() message to the Adam object results in the response "Adam" while sending the same message to the Beth object results in the response "Beth".

However, there can be methods related to a specific class but not suitable for sending messages to a specific object of that class. Such methods that are called using the class instead of a specific instance are called class-level methods.

The method getTotalPersons() is not suitable to send to a specific Person object because a specific object of the Person class should not have to know about the total number of Person objects.

Class-level attributes and methods are collectively called class-level members (also called static members sometimes because some programming languages use the keyword static to identify class-level members). They are to be accessed using the class name rather than an instance of the class.

Exercises



Enumerations

Can explain the meaning of enumerations

An Enumeration is a fixed set of values that can be considered as a data type. An enumeration is often useful when using a regular data type such as int or String would allow invalid values to be assigned to a variable.

Suppose you want a variable called priority to store the priority of something. There are only three priority levels: high, medium, and low. You can declare the variable priority as of type int and use only values 2, 1, and 0 to indicate the three priority levels. However, this opens the possibility of an invalid value such as 9 being assigned to it. But if you define an enumeration type called Priority that has three values HIGH, MEDIUM and LOW only, a variable of type Priority will never be assigned an invalid value because the compiler is able to catch such an error.

Priority: HIGH, MEDIUM, LOW



Associations

Basic

Can explain associations

Objects in an OO solution need to be connected to each other to form a network so that they can interact with each other. Such connections between objects are called associations.

Suppose an OOP program for managing a learning management system creates an object structure to represent the related objects. In that object structure you can expect to have associations between a Course object that represents a specific course and Student objects that represent students taking that course.

Associations in an object structure can change over time.

To continue the previous example, the associations between a Course object and Student objects can change as students enroll in the module or drop the module over time.

Associations among objects can be generalized as associations between the corresponding classes too.

In our example, as some Course objects can have associations with some Student objects, you can view it as an association between the Course class and the Student class.

Implementing associations

You use instance level variables to implement associations.


Navigability

Can explain the meaning of navigability

When two classes are linked by an association, it does not necessarily mean the two objects taking part in an instance of the association knows about (i.e., has a reference to) each other. The concept of which object in the association knows about the other object is called navigability.

Navigability can be unidirectional or bidirectional. Suppose there is an association between the classes Box and Rope, and the Box object b and the Rope object r is taking part in one instance of that association.

  • Unidirectional: If the navigability is from Box to Rope, b will have a reference to r but r will not have a reference to b. Similarly, if the navigability is in the other direction, r will have a reference to b but b will not have a reference to r.
  • Bidirectional: b will have a reference to r and r will have a reference to b i.e., the two objects will be pointing to each other.

Multiplicity

Can explain the meaning of multiplicity

Multiplicity is the aspect of an OOP solution that dictates how many objects take part in each association.

The multiplicity of the association between Course objects and Student objects tells you how many Course objects can be associated with one Student object and vice versa.

Implementing multiplicity

A normal instance-level variable gives us a 0..1 multiplicity (also called optional associations) because a variable can hold a reference to a single object or null.

In the code below, the Logic class has a variable that can hold 0..1 i.e., zero or one Minefield objects.

class Logic {
    Minefield minefield;
    // ...
}

class Minefield {
    //...
}
class Logic:
  
  def __init__(self):
    self.minefield = None
    
  # ...


class Minefield:
  # ...

A variable can be used to implement a 1 multiplicity too (also called compulsory associations).

In the code below, the Logic class will always have a ConfigGenerator object, provided the variable is not set to null at some point.

class Logic {
    ConfigGenerator cg = new ConfigGenerator();
    ...
}
class Logic:

  def __init__(self):
    self.config_gen = ConfigGenerator()

Bidirectional associations require matching variables in both classes.

In the code below, the Foo class has a variable to hold a Bar object and vice versa i.e., each object can have an association with an object of the other type.

class Foo {
    Bar bar;
    //...
}

class Bar {
    Foo foo;
    //...
}

class Foo:
  
  def __init__(self, bar):
    self.bar = bar;


class Bar:
  
  def __init__(self, foo):
    self.foo = foo;
    

To implement other multiplicities, choose a suitable data structure such as Arrays, ArrayLists, HashMaps, Sets, etc.

This code uses a two-dimensional array to implement a 1-to-many association from the Minefield to Cell.

class Minefield {
    Cell[][] cell;
    ...
}
class Minefield:
  
  def __init__(self):
    self.cells = {1:[], 2:[], 3:[]}

Dependencies

Can explain dependencies among classes

In the context of OOP associations, a dependency is a need for one class to depend on another without having a direct association in the same direction. Reason for the exclusion: If there is an association from class Foo to class Bar (i.e., navigable from Foo to Bar), that means Foo is obviously dependent on Bar and hence there is no point in mentioning dependency specifically. In other words, we are only concerned about non-obvious dependencies here. One cause of such dependencies is interactions between objects that do not have a long-term link between them.

A Course class can have a dependency on a Registrar class because the Course class needs to refer to the Registrar class to obtain the the maximum number of students it can support (e.g., Registrar.MAX_COURSE_CAPACITY).

In the code below, Foo has a dependency on Bar but it is not an association because it is only a temporarytransient interaction and there is no long term relationship between a Foo object and a Bar object. i.e. the Foo object does not keep the Bar object it receives as a parameter.

class Foo {
    
    int calculate(Bar bar) {
        return bar.getValue();
    }
}

class Bar {
    int value;
    
    int getValue() {
        return value;
    }
}
class Foo:
    
    def calculate(self, bar):
        return bar.value;

class Bar:
    
    def __init__(self, value):
      self.value = value

Composition

Can explain the meaning of composition

A composition is an association that represents a strong whole-part relationship. When the whole is destroyed, parts are destroyed too i.e., the part should not exist without being attached to a whole.

A Board (used for playing board games) consists of Square objects.

Composition also implies that there cannot be cyclical links.

The ‘sub-folder’ association between Folder objects is a composition type association. That means if the Folder object foo is a sub-folder of Folder object bar, bar cannot be a sub-folder of foo.

Whether a relationship is a composition can depend on the context.

Is the relationship between Email and EmailSubject composition? That is, is the email subject part of an email to the extent that an email subject cannot exist without an email?

  • When modeling an application that sends emails, the answer is 'yes'.
  • When modeling an application that gather analytics about email traffic, the answer may be 'no' (e.g., the application might collect just the email subjects for text analysis).

A common use of composition is when parts of a big class are carved out as smaller classes for the ease of managing the internal design. In such cases, the classes extracted out still act as parts of the bigger class and the outside world has no business knowing about them.

Cascading deletion alone is not sufficient for composition. Suppose there is a design in which Person objects are attached to Task objects and the former get deleted whenever the latter is deleted. This fact alone does not mean there is a composition relationship between the two classes. For it to be composition, a Person must be an integral part of a Task in the context of that association, at the concept level (not simply at implementation level).

Identifying and keeping track of composition relationships in the design has benefits such as helping to maintain the data integrity of the system. For example, when you know that a certain relationship is a composition, you can take extra care in your implementation to ensure that when the whole object is deleted, all its parts are deleted too.

Implementing composition

Composition is implemented using a normal variable. If correctly implemented, the ‘part’ object will be deleted when the ‘whole’ object is deleted. Ideally, the ‘part’ object may not even be visible to clients of the ‘whole’ object.

class Email {
    private Subject subject;
  ...
}
class Email:

  def __init__(self):
    self.__subject = Subject()

In this code, the Email has a composition type relationship with the Subject class, in the sense that the subject is part of the email.


Aggregation

Can explain the meaning of aggregations

Aggregation represents a container-contained relationship. It is a weaker relationship than composition.

SportsClub can act as a container for Person objects who are members of the club. Person objects can survive without a SportsClub object.

Implementing aggregation

Implementation is similar to that of composition except the containee object can exist even after the container object is deleted.

In the code below, there is an aggregation association between the Team class and the Person class in that a Team contains a Person object who is the leader of the team.

class Team {
    Person leader;
    ...
    void setLeader(Person p) {
        leader = p;
    }
}
class Team:
  
  def __init__(self):
    self.__leader = None
    
  def set_leader(self, person):
    self.__leader = person

Association classes

Can explain the meaning of association classes

An association class represents additional information about an association. It is a normal class but plays a special role from a design point of view.

A Man class and a Woman class are linked with a ‘married to’ association and there is a need to store the date of marriage. However, that data is related to the association rather than specifically owned by either the Man object or the Woman object. In such situations, an additional association class can be introduced, e.g. a Marriage class, to store such information.

UML Class Diagrams → Association Classes → What


Implementing association classes

There is no special way to implement an association class. It can be implemented as a normal class that has variables to represent the endpoint of the association it represents.

In the code below, the Transaction class is an association class that represents a transaction between a Person who is the seller and another Person who is the buyer.

class Transaction {
    
    //all fields are compulsory
    Person seller;
    Person buyer;
    Date date;
    String receiptNumber;
    
    Transaction(Person seller, Person buyer, Date date, String receiptNumber) {
        //set fields
    }
}

Exercises




Inheritance

What

Can explain the meaning of inheritance

The OOP concept Inheritance allows you to define a new class based on an existing class.

For example, you can use inheritance to define an EvaluationReport class based on an existing Report class so that the EvaluationReport class does not have to duplicate data/behaviors that are already implemented in the Report class. The EvaluationReport can inherit the wordCount attribute and the print() method from the base class Report.

  • Other names for Base class: Parent class, Superclass
  • Other names for Derived class: Child class, Subclass, Extended class

A superclass is said to be more general than the subclass. Conversely, a subclass is said to be more specialized than the superclass.

Applying inheritance on a group of similar classes can result in the common parts among classes being extracted into more general classes.

Man and Woman behave the same way for certain things. However, the two classes cannot be simply replaced with a more general class Person because of the need to distinguish between Man and Woman for certain other things. A solution is to add the Person class as a superclass (to contain the code common to men and women) and let Man and Woman inherit from Person class.

Inheritance implies the derived class can be considered as a sub-type of the base class (and the base class is a super-type of the derived class), resulting in an is a relationship.

Inheritance does not necessarily mean a sub-type relationship exists. However, the two often go hand-in-hand. For simplicity, at this point let us assume inheritance implies a sub-type relationship.

To continue the previous example,

  • Woman is a Person
  • Man is a Person

Inheritance relationships through a chain of classes can result in inheritance hierarchies (aka inheritance trees).

Two inheritance hierarchies/trees are given below. Note that the triangle points to the parent class. Observe how the Parrot is a Bird as well as it is an Animal.

Multiple Inheritance is when a class inherits directly from multiple classes. Multiple inheritance among classes is allowed in some languages (e.g., Python, C++) but not in other languages (e.g., Java, C#).

The Honey class inherits from the Food class and the Medicine class because honey can be consumed as a food as well as a medicine (in some oriental medicine practices). Similarly, a Car is a Vehicle, an Asset and a Liability.

Exercises



Overriding

Can explain method overriding

Method overriding is when a sub-class changes the behavior inherited from the parent class by re-implementing the method. Overridden methods have the same name, same type signature, and same return type.

Consider the following case of EvaluationReport class inheriting the Report class:

Report methods EvaluationReport methods Overrides?
print() print() Yes
write(String) write(String) Yes
read():String read(int):String No. Reason: the two methods have different signatures; This is a case of overloading (rather than overriding).

Exercises



Overloading

Can explain method overloading

Method overloading is when there are multiple methods with the same name but different type signatures. Overloading is used to indicate that multiple operations do similar things but take different parameters.

Type signature: The type signature of an operation is the type sequence of the parameters. The return type and parameter names are not part of the type signature. However, the parameter order is significant.

Example:

Method Type Signature
int add(int X, int Y) (int, int)
void add(int A, int B) (int, int)
void m(int X, double Y) (int, double)
void m(double X, int Y) (double, int)

In the case below, the calculate method is overloaded because the two methods have the same name but different type signatures (String) and (int).

  • calculate(String): void
  • calculate(int): void

Interfaces

Can explain interfaces

An interface is a behavior specification i.e. a collection of Just the method signature without any implementationmethod specifications. If a class implements all methods specified in an interfaceimplements the interface, it means the class is able to support the behaviors specified by the said interface.

There are a number of situations in software engineering when it is important for disparate groups of programmers to agree to a "contract" that spells out how their software interacts. Each group should be able to write their code without any knowledge of how the other group's code is written. Generally speaking, interfaces are such contracts. --Oracle Docs on Java

Suppose SalariedStaff is an interface that contains two methods setSalary(int) and getSalary(). AcademicStaff can declare itself as implementing the SalariedStaff interface, which means the AcademicStaff class must implement all the methods specified by the SalariedStaff interface i.e., setSalary(int) and getSalary().

A class implementing an interface results in an is-a relationship, just like in class inheritance.

In the example above, AcademicStaff is a SalariedStaff. An AcademicStaff object can be used anywhere a SalariedStaff object is expected e.g. SalariedStaff ss = new AcademicStaff().


Abstract classes and methods

Can implement abstract classes

Abstract class: A class declared as an abstract class cannot be instantiated, but it can be subclassed.

You can declare a class as abstract when a class is merely a representation of commonalities among its subclasses in which case it does not make sense to instantiate objects of that class.

The Animal class that exists as a generalization of its subclasses Cat, Dog, Horse, Tiger etc. can be declared as abstract because it does not make sense to instantiate an Animal object.

Abstract method: An abstract method is a method signature without a method implementation.

The move method of the Animal class is likely to be an abstract method as it is not possible to implement a move method at the Animal class level to fit all subclasses because each animal type can move in a different way.

A class that has an abstract method becomes an abstract class because the class definition is incomplete (due to the missing method body) and it is not possible to create objects using an incomplete class definition.


Substitutability

Can explain substitutability

Every instance of a subclass is an instance of the superclass, but not vice-versa. As a result, inheritance allows substitutability: the ability to substitute a child class object where a parent class object is expected.

An AcademicStaff is an instance of a Staff, but a Staff is not necessarily an instance of an AcademicStaff. i.e. wherever an object of the superclass is expected, it can be substituted by an object of any of its subclasses.

The following code is valid because an AcademicStaff object is substitutable as a Staff object.

Staff staff = new AcademicStaff(); // OK

But the following code is not valid because staff is declared as a Staff type and therefore its value may or may not be of type AcademicStaff, which is the type expected by variable academicStaff.

Staff staff;
...
AcademicStaff academicStaff = staff; // Not OK

Dynamic and static binding

Can explain dynamic and static binding

Dynamic binding (There are subtle differences between late binding and dynamic binding, but they are beyond the scope of this documentaka late binding): a mechanism where method calls in code are deciding which method implementation to executeresolved at at the moment the method call is executedruntime, rather than at compile time.

Overridden methods are resolved using dynamic binding, and therefore resolves to the implementation in the actual type of the object.

Consider the code below. The declared type of s is Staff and it appears as if the adjustSalary(int) operation of the Staff class is invoked.

void adjustSalary(int byPercent) {
    for (Staff s: staff) {
        s.adjustSalary(byPercent);
    }
}

However, at runtime s can receive an object of any subclass of Staff. That means the adjustSalary(int) operation of the actual subclass object will be called. If the subclass does not override that operation, the operation defined in the superclass (in this case, Staff class) will be called.

Static binding (aka early binding): When a method call is resolved at compile time.

In contrast, overloaded methods are resolved using static binding.

Note how the constructor is overloaded in the class below. The method call new Account() is bound to the first constructor at compile time.

class Account {

    Account() {
        // Signature: ()
        ...
    }

    Account(String name, String number, double balance) {
        // Signature: (String, String, double)
        ...
    }
}

Similarly, the calculateGrade method is overloaded in the code below and a method call calculateGrade("A1213232") is bound to the second implementation, at compile time.

void calculateGrade(int[] averages) { ... }
void calculateGrade(String matric) { ... }


Polymorphism

What

Can explain OOP polymorphism

Polymorphism:

The ability of different objects to respond, each in its own way, to identical messages is called polymorphism. -- Object-Oriented Programming with Objective-C, Apple

Polymorphism allows you to write code targeting superclass objects, use that code on subclass objects, and achieve possibly different results based on the actual class of the object.

Assume classes Cat and Dog are both subclasses of the Animal class. You can write code targeting Animal objects and use that code on Cat and Dog objects, achieving possibly different results based on whether it is a Cat object or a Dog object. Some examples:

  • Declare an array of type Animal and still be able to store Dog and Cat objects in it.
  • Define a method that takes an Animal object as a parameter and yet be able to pass Dog and Cat objects to it.
  • Call a method on a Dog or a Cat object as if it is an Animal object (i.e., without knowing whether it is a Dog object or a Cat object) and get a different response from it based on its actual class e.g., call the Animal class's method speak() on object a and get a "Meow" as the return value if a is a Cat object and "Woof" if it is a Dog object.

Polymorphism literally means "ability to take many forms".


How

Can explain how substitutability operation overriding, and dynamic binding relates to polymorphism

Three concepts combine to achieve polymorphism: substitutability, operation overriding, and dynamic binding.

  • Substitutability: Because of substitutability, you can write code that expects objects of a parent class and yet use that code with objects of child classes. That is how polymorphism is able to treat objects of different types as one type.
  • Overriding: To get polymorphic behavior from an operation, the operation in the superclass needs to be overridden in each of the subclasses. That is how overriding allows objects of different subclasses to display different behaviors in response to the same method call.
  • Dynamic binding: Calls to overridden methods are bound to the implementation of the actual object's class dynamically during the runtime. That is how the polymorphic code can call the method of the parent class and yet execute the implementation of the child class.

Exercises




More

Miscellaneous

Can answer frequently asked OOP questions

What is the difference between a Class, an Abstract Class, and an Interface?

  • An interface is a behavior specification with no implementation.
  • A class is a behavior specification + implementation.
  • An abstract class is a behavior specification + a possibly incomplete implementation.

How does overriding differ from overloading?

Overloading is used to indicate that multiple operations do similar things but take different parameters. Overloaded methods have the same method name but different method signatures and possibly different return types.

Overriding is when a sub-class redefines an operation using the same method name and the same type signature. Overridden methods have the same name, same method signature, and same return type.


Review

Can combine some OOP concepts

...

Exercises