Monday, September 19, 2011

Polymorphism In JAV A Programming Languagea


Polymorphism In JAV A Programming Language:


Polymorphism (from the Greek, meaning “many forms”) is a feature that allows one interface to be used for a general class of actions. The specific action is determined by the exact nature of the situation. Consider a stack (which is a last-in, first-out list). You might have a program that requires three types of stacks. One stack is used for integer values, one for floating-point values, and one for characters. The algorithm that implements each stack is the same, even though the data being stored differs. In a non– object-oriented language, you would be required to create three different sets of stack routines, with each set using different names. However, because of polymorphism, in Java you can specify a general set of stack routines that all share the same names. More generally, the concept of polymorphism is often expressed by the phrase “one interface, multiple methods.” This means that it is possible to design a generic interface to a group of related activities. This helps reduce complexity by allowing the same interface to be used to specify a general class of action. It is the compiler’s job to select the specific action (that is, method) as it applies to each situation. You, the programmer, do not need to make this selection manually. You need only remember and utilize the general interface.



Extending the dog analogy, a dog’s sense of smell is polymorphic. If the dog smells a cat, it will bark and run after it. If the dog smells its food, it will salivate and run to its bowl. The same sense of smell is at work in both situations. The difference is what is being smelled, that is, the type of data being operated upon by the dog’s nose! This same general concept can be implemented in Java as it applies to methods within a Java program.

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