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Posted By:   Anonymous
Posted On:   Friday, February 18, 2005 07:47 AM

Can you tell me the difference between an interface and an abstract class?

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Re: Java

Posted By:   Anonymous  
Posted On:   Friday, April 8, 2005 01:04 AM

An abstract class can have some methods implemented, some not. It is used to implement the "template method pattern" (read E.Gamma's et.al. book on Design Patterns - it's hard, but necessary for a professional!).

In Java, another class can only have one superclass, therefore "mixing the functionality of a few abstract classes" (the C++ "mixin pattern") is not possible - see problem/example below.

An interface is just a "promise" to implement some methods. As you can give more than one promise at the same time, a class can also implement many interfaces (sometimes this is called "multiple inheritance of interfaces" - but this is actually a *wrong* name, because there is no "inheritance" when a class implements the methods of an interface).

Ok, that was the theory. I tried to write a convincing example - but it's much work. So my advice is: Read read read read read books explaining this; and write write write (design design design) programs and have them corrected by someone who knows about all this.

Remember: Learning without a skilled teacher is usually useless.


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