Programming: Unified Modeling Language and Class

Topics: Object-oriented programming, Programming language, C++ Pages: 29 (8962 words) Published: August 21, 2012


An object is a discrete bundle of functions and procedures, all relating to a particular real-world concept such as a bank account holder or hockey player. Other pieces of software can access the object only by calling its functions and procedures that have been allowed to be called by outsiders. A large number of software engineers agree that isolating objects in this way makes their software easier to manage and keep track of. However, a not-insignificant number of engineers feel the reverse may be true: that software becomes more complex to maintain and document, or even to engineer from the start. The conditions under which OOP prevails over alternative techniques (and vice-versa) often remain unstated by either party, however, making rational discussion of the topic difficult, and often leading to "religious wars" over the matter. Object-oriented programming has roots that can be traced to the 1960s. As hardware and software became increasingly complex, manageability often became a concern. Researchers studied ways to maintain software quality and developed object-oriented programming in part to address common problems by strongly emphasizing discrete, reusable units of programming logic[citation needed]. The technology focuses on data rather than processes, with programs composed of self-sufficient modules ("classes"), each instance of which ("objects") contains all the information needed to manipulate its own data structure ("members"). This is in contrast to the existing modular programming which had been dominant for many years that focused on the function of a module, rather than specifically the data, but equally provided for code reuse, and self-sufficient reusable units of programming logic, enabling collaboration through the use of linked modules (subroutines). This more conventional approach, which still persists, tends to consider data and behavior separately. An object-oriented program may thus be viewed as a collection of interacting objects, as opposed to the conventional model, in which a program is seen as a list of tasks (subroutines) to perform. In OOP, each object is capable of receiving messages, processing data, and sending messages to other objects and can be viewed as an independent 'machine' with a distinct role or responsibility. The actions (or "methods") on these objects are closely associated with the object. For example, the data structures tend to 'carry their own operators around with them' (or at least "inherit" them from a similar object or class). The Simula programming language was the first to introduce the concepts underlying object-oriented programming (objects, classes, subclasses, virtual methods, coroutines, and discrete event simulation) as a superset of Algol. Simula also used automatic garbage collection which had been invented earlier for the functional programming language Lisp. Simula was used for physical modeling, such as models to study and improve the movement of ships and their content through cargo ports. Smalltalk was the first programming language to be called "object-oriented".[1]


The concept of objects and instances in computing had its first major breakthrough with the PDP-1 system at MIT which was probably the earliest example of 'capability based' architecture. Another early example was Sketchpad created by Ivan Sutherland in 1963; however, this was an application and not a programming paradigm. Objects as programming entities were introduced in the 1960s in Simula 67, a programming language designed for performing simulations, created by Ole-Johan Dahl and Kristen Nygaard of the Norwegian Computing Center in Oslo. (They were working on ship simulations, and were confounded by the combinatorial explosion of how the different attributes from different ships could affect one another. The idea occurred to them of grouping the different types of ships into different classes of objects; each class of objects being...
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