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Java 101 - Object Oriented Programming

Java 101 - Object Oriented Programming

A comprehensive introduction to Object-Oriented Programming in Java

Siben Nayak's photo
Siben Nayak
·Feb 2, 2023·

Java is one of the most widely used programming languages in the world, and it is a popular choice for developing a variety of applications, ranging from desktop software to web applications and mobile apps. One of the key strengths of Java is its support for Object-Oriented Programming (OOP), a programming paradigm that provides a way to structure and organize complex software systems.

In this article, we will provide a comprehensive overview of the key concepts of OOP, such as encapsulation, inheritance, and polymorphism, and an overview of how these concepts are supported in Java. We will also touch upon some of the other features of Java that support OOP, such as interfaces, abstract classes, and packages.

Object-Oriented Programming in Java

Encapsulation

Encapsulation is the mechanism of hiding the internal details of an object and exposing only the necessary information to the outside world. In Java, this is achieved through the use of classes and objects, and by using access modifiers such as private, protected, and public. For example, consider the following class:

public class Car {
  private int speed;
  private int gear;

  public int getSpeed() {
    return speed;
  }

  public void setSpeed(int speed) {
    this.speed = speed;
  }

  public int getGear() {
    return gear;
  }

  public void setGear(int gear) {
    this.gear = gear;
  }
}

In this example, the speed and gear variables are declared as private, meaning that they cannot be directly accessed from outside the class. Instead, their values can be read and set through the getSpeed() and setSpeed() methods, and the getGear() and setGear() methods, respectively. This protects the internal state of the object and ensures that it can only be modified in a controlled manner.

Inheritance

Inheritance is a mechanism that allows a new class to inherit the properties and behaviors of an existing class. In Java, inheritance is achieved through the use of the extends keyword. For example, consider the following classes:

class Animal {
  public void move() {
    System.out.println("Animal is moving");
  }
}

class Dog extends Animal {
  public void bark() {
    System.out.println("Dog is barking");
  }
}

In this example, the Dog class inherits from the Animal class. This means that the Dog class has all the properties and behaviors of the Animal class, as well as any additional properties and behaviors defined in the Dog class itself. This allows for the creation of specialized classes that build upon the functionality of existing classes.

Polymorphism

Polymorphism is the ability of an object to take on many forms. In Java, polymorphism is achieved through the use of method overloading and method overriding. Method overloading allows multiple methods to have the same name but different parameters, while method overriding allows a subclass to provide a different implementation of a method defined in its superclass.

For example, consider the following class:

class Shape {
  public void draw() {
    System.out.println("Drawing a Shape");
  }
}

class Circle extends Shape {
  public void draw() {
    System.out.println("Drawing a Circle");
  }
}

class Square extends Shape {
  public void draw() {
    System.out.println("Drawing a Square");
  }
}

In this example, the Shape class defines a draw() method, which is overridden in the Circle and Square classes to provide their own implementation of the method. When an instance of each class is created, the appropriate implementation of the draw() method is called, even though the reference type of the object is the same. This is an example of polymorphism in action.

Shape shape = new Shape();
shape.draw();  // Output: Drawing a Shape

Shape circle = new Circle();
circle.draw();  // Output: Drawing a Circle

Shape square = new Square();
square.draw();  // Output: Drawing a Square

In this example, the reference type of each object is Shape, but the actual type of each object is Shape, Circle, and Square, respectively. When the draw() method is called, the appropriate implementation of the method is executed, based on the actual type of the object.

Other OOP Constructs

Java is a language that is designed for OOP, and it provides several features to support this paradigm. In addition to the concepts of encapsulation, inheritance, and polymorphism, Java also provides support for interfaces, abstract classes, and packages.

Interfaces are similar to classes, but they only define the method signatures and not the implementation. They provide a way to define a common set of behaviors that must be implemented by any class that implements the interface.

Abstract classes, on the other hand, provide a partial implementation of a class, and they can be used to define common behavior that is shared by multiple classes.

Packages are a way to group related classes and interfaces into a single unit, and they provide a way to organize the code and control the access to the classes and interfaces that are contained within the package.

Conclusion

Object-Oriented Programming is a powerful paradigm that is used in a variety of programming languages, including Java. The concepts of encapsulation, inheritance, and polymorphism provide a way to structure the code and manage the complexity of the software. Additionally, the support for interfaces, abstract classes, and packages provide a way to organize the code and ensure that it is maintainable and reusable.

In this article, we have covered the basics of Object-Oriented Programming in Java, and provided an overview of the key concepts and features of the language. Whether you are just starting out with Java or are an experienced programmer, understanding the principles of OOP is an essential part of working with this language.

 
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