OOPS concepts – introduction

There are three basic concepts of OOPS

  1. Abstraction
  2. Encapsulation
  3. Polymorphism


1. Abstraction
Abstraction means using the equipment (or code) without knowing the details of working. For example, you are using your mobile phone without knowing how a mobile operates internally. Just a click on a button connects to your friend. This is abstraction. That is, the details of mobile mechanism are abstracted. Similarly we use the code of somebody to get the functionality without knowing how the code is written or working. For example, you are using printf() function to write to the DOS prompt without the awareness of what the code of printf(). One of the ways of achieving abstraction is inheritance. Through inheritance a subclass can use the super class methods as if they belong to it without caring their implementation details.
2. Encapsulation
Object-oriented concepts borrowed many terms from other technologies like encapsulation (from pharmaceuticals), inheritance (from biology), cloning (from genetics) and polymorphism (from biology) etc. Placing a powdered drug in a gelatin capsule and sealing it is known as encapsulation. With encapsulation, a Pharmacist hides the properties of a drug like its taste and color from the patient. Similar meaning is in OOPs also. Encapsulation hides the implementation details of coding; other way it is abstraction. With abstraction, implementation of information is hidden.
In a programming language, variables represent the properties and methods are used to change the properties. For example, the speed variable represent the property of a motor car and the method accelerator() is used to change the speed. Objects are used to call the methods. There may be multiple motor cars and every car has its own speed. Here, motor car represents an object. Every object encapsulates its own data. This encapsulation concept takes OOP languages a lead over traditional procedure-oriented languages. Binding data with objects (generally through method calls) is known as encapsulation.
In encapsulation, to have control over the manipulation of data (not to feed wrong data, for example, the speed cannot be negative) by other classes, a programmer declares variables as private and methods as public. Other classes can access the private variables through public methods. With encapsulation, every object maintains its own data and this data is entirely private to that object. Other objects cannot access or modify the data.

3. Polymorphism
Polymorphism is a Greek term and means many forms of the same (“poly” means many and “morphism” means forms). It is an OOP paradigm where one method can be made to give different outputs (functionalities) when called at different times. Polymorphism is two ways – static polymorphism where methods are binded at compile time and dynamic polymorphism where methods are binded dynamically at runtime. The same person is called as an officer (in office), husband (in house) and player (in cricket team). The person can be treated as base class. Extra subclasses can be added by hierarchical inheritance like son etc.

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