It was the 1980s when Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) first made its appearance on the software development scene. OOP was once considered a radical leap forward from the traditional top-down method. Now, however, it is such a fundamental part of software development, that most major software development is performed using OOP.

Pre OOP, developers solved large problems by breaking down troublesome code into sub-problems and then set to solving them in separate units.

How does OOP work?

OOP has 4 principles: Encapsulation, Abstraction, Inheritance, Polymorphism.

1. Encapsulation

This is the binding of data to functions. This concept keeps the data safe. Many OOP languages prevent anything other than specific methods in the class owning the data to access that data.

2. Abstraction

Abstraction is the idea that if you are repeating one thing too often, it should be its own entity. if a programmer is repeatedly rewriting the same function for different objects, that function could be abstracted to become its own entity.

3. Inheritance.

Inheritance lets certain classes be under the umbrella of other classes. Each subclass can inherit information and functionality from that class, while also allowing subclasses to have their own unique functions.  It also saves time by allowing programmers to reuse code they’ve already typed in other classes.

4. Polymorphism.

Polymorphism is the ability to handle objects differently depending on what they are. Developers can define different methods for handling objects based on their derived class. So for example, if we wanted to find the size of something, we might have to adapt how we measure it based on what it is. Polymorphism allows us to create a function that can accept either object, still giving us a sane measurement.

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Why use OOP?

Code is reusable.

Object-Oriented languages are modular by design. Polymorphism and abstraction make it possible for a function to be used again and again. Developers can also copy information and functionality that’s already been written with inheritance.  As a result, OOP saves time, reduces complexity, and saves space.

Parallel development.

OOP makes concurrent working easier, especially if the development team is large. Parts of the program can be developed separately from each other and still function under object-oriented principles.  Teams can work on multiple objects at the same time without the risk of damaging or duplicating anyone else’s work.

Code is easier to maintain.

Code is much easier to maintain because it’s in one place, being called and reused. Instead of having to individually fix many different instances where a function is called, we can fix the one modular and polymorphic function.

Additionally, because Object-oriented programming languages have a modular structure, the code is easier to read. Because it is easier to read, it’s easier to maintain.

Security.

OOP languages have security built-in with encapsulation. Objects are self-contained. Each bit of functionality operates independently from the others and leaves the others alone. Other methods and classes cannot access private data by default, and programs written in OOP languages are more secure as a result.

OOP has a place now and in the future.

Perhaps the most persuasive argument for using OOP is the languages that apply the principles.

Java, Python, and C++ are all examples of popular OOP languages. Others include Lisp, and Perl, Ruby, and C#. All these languages support programming using the class and objects paradigm.    One top of these, JavaScript, and PHP are both object-oriented programming languages too and support object-oriented principles.

Java is one of the most widely used, and in-demand languages of all time.  Its tag line “write once, run anywhere”, reflects the number of platforms it runs on.   Python too is demonstrative of the reach OOP has.  Python has a strong usage within machine learning and data science. Considering that these are both current and rapidly evolving tech trends, OOP has well and truly got a foothold in shaping the potential of technology.

Conclusion

In Sum, OOP languages are everywhere we look. We know that many of the most widely used coding languages that make up the computing world today are object-oriented.  Understanding how object-oriented languages work and why they are useful is important for almost every career in computing.

They have a unique set of pillars that encourage its wide use. Thanks to these principles, code is reusable, secure, and easy to maintain.  OOP also allows developers to work collaboratively in large teams without duplicating or damaging another’s work. With these considerations in mind, it’s not hard to see why OOP languages are so popular, and that these languages have a solid foothold in the future of tech.

About the author: As a founder of Ignite Digital Talent, I lead our brilliant team to ensure we deliver time and time again for our clients. I also stay closely networked with industry influencers to ensure we are well placed to understand the issues and challenges our clients face.

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