Object Oriented Programming Object oriented programming, or OOP, is a computer science concept that makes programming easier and more secure by organizing data into classes that allow access through public member functions. Before OOP was developed, source code was often convoluted and hard to maintain. The first OOP language to be invented was Smalltalk in 1972, and later, in 1979, the invention of perhaps the most well-known OOP language, C++, took place, according to C Plus Plus.com. Today, there are many widely used OOP languages, including Objective-C, Java, Python and PHP, and most applications are written in this way.

How Object-Oriented Programming Languages Are Used

The language C++ is based on the C programming language, which is still developed and used in the present day. Both C and C++ are capable of executing in-line Assembly language code, and in general, C and Assembly programs run more efficiently than software written in C++, which usually has the best performance of all the OOP languages. While OOP makes programming easier and more secure than other types of languages, its readability and flexibility come at a performance cost. For example, C++ has to store classes in a lookup table that is searched when member functions, or methods, are called, but it doesn’t have to take this extra step when classes are not defined.

A class is the basic component of object-oriented programming, and it’s used as the blueprint for the objects created by a program. There are many ways that classes can be used, but the standard form of a class is basically a customizable data structure. It’s a way of organizing the data used in a program into easy-to-understand categories. To use a typical example, a class might hold the data that a user enters into an online form. The program accesses this data through public member functions such as get, set and to String. If a programmer tries to directly access a class’s private data, the program usually won’t compile. This privacy makes software more secure and stable, and it imposes a degree of formality on code style by forcing programmers to perform checks on data.

Characteristics of OOP Languages

The three main concepts of OOP languages are classes, inheritance and polymorphism, according to Microsoft. Inheritance is the concept that allows programmers to create new classes based on the ones that have already been defined. For example, a class called Person might contain a string value for the name and an integer value for the age. A child class called Employee could be derived from Person, and the new data members ID and position could be added. If the name and age members are declared private in the Person class, then the methods of the Employee child class can’t directly access them. They have to use the same public interface that unrelated classes have to use. This restriction is lifted when the members are declared as protected. The last concept of OOP, polymorphism, is the idea that an object of the class Employee is a Person and an Employee at the same time, allowing data structures to contain a mix of related objects.

Related Resource: Algorithm Design

Computer science can get pretty abstract and hard to understand, but OOP is one of the easier concepts to learn and is taught to first-year students. If you want to do any type of application or Web programming, it’s a good idea to learn object oriented programming.