OOPS What are they?

OOPs What are they?

OOPS stands for object oriented programs / or programming. 

There have been many approaches developed to utilise object-oriented languages in recent years. As a consequence, it is a little difficult to give a definition of exactly what object-oriented programming is. Any programming language that provides a way to exploit  'packaging' of objects (technically called encapsulation) is to some degree 'object-based'. So, perhaps one way in which a language could be considered more 'object-based' than another is by considering how uniformly the object model is applied. 

Object-based languages support objects as a language feature, but do not contain something we call code re-use mechanisms. Object oriented languages support both encapsulation and re-use. This is sometimes used to differentiate between object-based languages and object-oriented languages, but this is a technical difference that is still argued about. After all, how object-based must a program language be before we can call it an object-oriented language?

Hmmm...in the end, object-oriented programming is all about objects. An object is anything that can contain code and receive and send messages. You can consider an object as being like an empty box.  The box actually contains code (sequences of computer instructions) and data (information which the instructions operates on).

In the past, code and data were kept apart. As an example, in the C language, units of code are called functions, while units of data are called structures. But, in object oriented programming, code and data are merged into a single thing, called an object. As an end-user, you do not need to know what programming is used by an object . In fact, you should never need to peek inside the box.

One of the most important benefits of object-orientation is its ability to reuse software and design. Because everything is structured within objects, the definition of an object can be easily altered with minimum consequent effects on other objects. There are a number of ways that code can be re-used.

There are a number of ways in which code can be re-used effectively. A whole new class can be developed with minimum effort. The creation of a new class based on some of the characteristics of another class is called inheritance. There are variations on the type of way objects can inherit characteristics. One method is called delegation, where the behaviour of a derived.class is defined by the behaviour of a parent.class.

Another method is called instantiation which is the creation of a new class based on all the characteristics of another class. These are all methods that allow for the re-use of code. Yet another is incremental.modification whereby extensions or modifications to a system's behaviour can be made without modifying existing, code but rather by adding new code.

The advantages of object-oriented programming are that is speeds up development, increases quality by reducing bugs, and thus provides easier maintenance, it is generally more easily understood than non-object oriented languages and it offers enhanced modifying powers. It is also readily scalable and particularly useful for distributed computing. Most importantly, implementation details are hidden, meaning that an object-oriented approach is in many cases more appealing to human thinking than other methodologies. In fact, concepts of objects, object hierarchies, and so on are often closer to real world concepts than many 'traditional' programming constructs. 

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