Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) has received both love and hate from people in the coding world. Some love the ideas and principles behind it, but there are those who critique it for personal and subjective reasons.
Some see that OOP isn’t compatible with the newest software trends and coding practices. In contrast, the other side argues that OOP has a solid set of logic that allows it to be relevant and useful regardless of the innovation in the space.
Since the role of information technology would be crucial in this digital age, we must discuss this particular school of thought. This article will focus on all aspects of object-oriented programming – why people love it and why people criticize it. This work will show the ideas behind this paradigm and prove that OOP matters.
What Is Object-Oriented Programming?
Before we go into intricate details and reasoning, let’s first objectively define what object-oriented programming is. This term was coined by Alan Kay way back around 1966 when he was at graduate school.
The idea behind OOP was to put mini-computers in software that can communicate via message passing rather than through direct data sharing. This idea stops the breakdown of programs into different data structures and procedures.
A technical definition of the term would be that OOP is a computer programming school of thought or model that organizes software design around data or objects. This is contrary to the route of using functions and logic.
When it comes to object-oriented programming, it puts great significance in organizing your code into objects that model the parts of your problem. These objects hold together the vital variables for describing each possible state of your model’s component.
This way of programming is excellent for big, complex, and actively updated programs. These programs could be used for design, manufacturing, developing mobile applications, and many more.
To put it simply and convert everything as a one-liner, object-oriented programming was created to organize the complexity of procedural codebases.
The 4 Main Blocks Of Object-Oriented Programming
Classes – This is a blueprint for creating objects; it provides initial value for states and implementations of behavior. The class defines the nature of a future object. You can interpret class as a concept while the object is the reality or the embodiment of that concept.
Objects – An object is a data field with unique attributes and behavior. These are instances of a class created with certain data. Objects have the flexibility to correspond to real-world objects or abstract entities.
Methods – This defines the behavior of the objects created from the class. To put it simply, the method is an action that an object is able to perform. These are functions defined in a class that describes what the object will do.
Attributes – These are the characteristics of the class that aids in separating it from other classes. It is what makes them unique and identifiable.
Five Proven Advantages of Object-Oriented Programming
The advantage when working with OOP languages is that you will know exactly where to look when something goes wrong. When this scenario happens, troubleshooting is a long process since some developers go through code line-by-line to see what went wrong.
However, when practicing OOP, you are using the principle of encapsulation. The objects here are self-contained, and each functionality does its own function while leaving other bits alone.
Since encapsulation allows objects to be self-contained, the process of both troubleshooting and collaborative development is easier and smooth.
When using OOP in your code work, your written codes can be reused through inheritance. This means that a team member doesn’t need to repeat the process of writing the same code multiple times.
Additionally, if you want to change all objects, just change your class, and all objects will inherit the new code. Being able to achieve these things, data redundancy is one of the best advantages that OOP gives to its users.
3. Increased productivity and efficiency
With the advantage of creating new programs with ease and the ability to utilize reusable code, this makes programmers more productive and efficient. This process of organizing codes efficiently allows for more tasks to be done and gives more time to produce quality outcomes.
A programmer that adheres to OOP can also utilize new software objects to make completely new programs. This particular action can be done by taking advantage of libraries with useful functions.
Tackling problems is a common task among professionals in the space, whether in-house, offshore, or nearshore developers. But what separates the best from the rest would be their approach in addressing these issues. Handling a complex set of problems and turning them into smaller chunks is a practice displayed in OOP.
In this paradigm, you break down your software code into smaller chunks. Then these chunks can be reused in solutions to various complex and simple problems. They too can be replaced by future modules that relate to the same interface with implementation details.
5. Polymorphism flexibility
Polymorphism, by definition, means the ability of an object to take on many forms. When used in OOP, it is the concept that you can access objects of different types through the same interface. This enables a single function to adapt to the class it is placed in.
What Makes Object-Oriented Programming Unique?
There are various reasons why programmers adhere to OOP’s ways and ideas. But if we were to sum it all up, it would give four factors as to why OOP is unique and followed by many.
The structure of classes is done through hierarchies, and inheritance allows the overall model and methods in one class to trickle down the hierarchy. This only means that less programming is needed when adding functions to complex systems.
If a step was to be added at the very bottom of the hierarchy, the processing and data connected with that unique step also need to be added. Rest assured that everything else is inherited.
The overall ability to utilize or reuse existing objects is such a great advantage of object technology. This particular feature helps make OOP unique and be different from others.
Encapsulation in OOP means bundling data with the methods that operate on the said data. This is used to hide the values or state of a structured data object inside a class, which stops unauthorized parties from having access to them.
To put in a single sentence, encapsulation in programming binds the class members together and prevents them from accessing other classes. It’s like how a drug addiction treatment center or an inpatient treatment facility keeps all their clients’ records and data private.
Another example could be how a business declares your customer information and other sensitive product information management details as private, so they don’t scatter it digitally. This concept of security by using data hiding is called encapsulation in programming.
The use of encapsulation is such an excellent idea mainly because of these reasons:
- The functionality is all in one place compared to being scattered and placed in multiple places.
- The data inside the object can’t be modified unexpectedly by external code.
- A well-encapsulated code is easier to read and understand.
- It protects the integrity of the code. This makes the code safer and more reliable.
Whenever you are in a classroom, you act as a student and take notes. When you’re visiting an eCommerce website, you act like a customer and buy items, read exit-intent pop-ups, and receive cart abandonment emails.
Another example would be a man who is a father in his household but an employee in the workplace. The examples mentioned a single person but possess different behavior or traits when in different situations or places – this is what polymorphism is.
This concept of OOP makes one object take multiple forms in various instances. OOP processes classes and objects by a single interface. With polymorphism, you can code to an interface that lowers coupling while increasing reusability and making your codes easier to understand.
By utilizing polymorphism, codes are more extendable and easily maintained. It re-enforces simplicity in the whole process. For example, we have a parent class and some child classes which inherit from it. In some instances, we want to utilize the collection that contains all these classes. There are also situations where we have a method dedicated for the parent class, but we also want to use it for the children class.
This type of scenario can be solved using polymorphism. This component of OOP allows programmers to use a class like its parent to avoid confusion with mixing types. But the child class mentioned will keep its own methods as they are.
When it comes to object-oriented design, programs are often significant. This makes it difficult to maintain a large codebase and make changes along the way. If the developer needs to understand every single function that’s part of a large codebase, then it will take them weeks to finish reading it all.
Fortunately, abstraction is present to ease this particular issue. Abstraction means to hide away the implementation details inside something. It should only show operations relevant to other objects. This means you don’t have to deeply understand every function you use.
When you take courses like digital marketing courses or SEO, all of the proven marketing strategies are presented to you. The preparation of the program and all the other intricacies of making the program were hidden. When regular people use a SERP simulator, they don’t need to understand every function of the code; what they need to know is what the simulator is presenting – things that are relevant to them.
All the relevant information was shown to you just like how OOP shows operations that are relevant to the objects. And as for the implementation (the preparation of the program, the intricacies of the SERP search, etc.) were already hidden away.
Criticisms Against Object-Oriented Programming
No matter the industry, every school of thought created within it will always receive criticisms from people – and OOP is no exception. Just as this paradigm has excellent benefits and advantages to its users, some still doubt it.
Below are the common criticisms and disadvantages laid out by people in the space:
A. Steep learning curve
The learning process in OOP may not be as simple compared to others. Everybody will have different learning curves, and it may depend on their level of understanding of the paradigm and experience in the industry.
Understanding the concept of classes, objects, and polymorphism might pose a great challenge when applying OOP. However, this situation is normal, especially if you’re quite new to programming.
It is already a given that programming won’t be a walk in the park, but knowing how to use OOP can get easier in time with the right determination and effort. Research, practice, and dedication can go a long way.
B. Bigger program size
When using OOP, the typical lines of code will be longer compared to procedural programs. However, this trade-off comes with an excellent result. Using OOP yields a greater chance of solving problems quicker and more efficiently.
Seeing the long lines of code explains why some criticize OOP. It’s understandable since most people in the space would rather work with programs that allow them to exert less effort. But usually, codes will always run into problems and bugs.
I believe this is where OOP outshines the other programs because as mentioned earlier, the structure of this paradigm makes it easier for programmers to locate and solve issues in their code.
C. Slower programs
Object-oriented programs are seen as slow by some programmers. They think that procedural programs are much faster. But programs under OOP are widely used by all sorts of programmers.
In fact, it even uses most household programming language names such as C++, Java, Python, and C#. Additionally, these programming languages have improved the state of small businesses. But even the medium and large-sized companies enjoyed its perks as well.
This means that if OOP languages are more used in the real-life setting, it puts its users at a great advantage over those who have expertise in languages that are not well-known.
D. It can be inefficient
Some programmers see that OOP uses more CPU than other alternatives. They see this potential to produce limitations and delays in the processes. Because of this, they see OOP as inefficient compared to other programs that are less CPU-demanding.
Examples Of Object-Oriented Programming Languages
Simula or Simulation Language was seen as the first Object-Oriented programming language. However, technology isn’t stagnant; it is always innovating and adapting to the ever-changing needs of people, both personally and in the workplace.
Due to constant developments, the languages designed for the OOP paradigm were also developed and created. They are the ones listed below:
Java is known everywhere. It’s a language that even non-programmers have heard of. It is so popular that it’s considered the top, most used, and in-demand programming language of all time.
Java was created in 1996, but it has maintained its position among the most popular programming languages in the world over the years. This can be for various reasons, but its most unique selling proposition would be because it’s user-friendly and can be used for everything.
This programming language is fundamentally object-oriented. The code here is so strong because objects contain no references to data external to themselves. Being an OOP language, users get to enjoy the modular nature, which greatly helps in writing reusable code.
Besides having a very rich library ecosystem, Python is an OOP language that is very flexible, simple, and consistent. The language is quite flexible in its ability to work with other programming languages. It gives the developer an option to go for OOPs or scripting.
Its great flexibility is sometimes what convinces programmers and developers alike to choose it over others because it provides a much more efficient environment wherein mistakes are greatly reduced.
Python is straightforward because the language offers concise and readable codes. It is not about complexity in the world of programming; what’s important is to create systems that are reliable and easy to fix when there are issues.
The same idea and logic are followed by multinational companies – they would rather go with simple yet very efficient languages. Companies like Intel, IBM, NASA, Pixar, Facebook, and JP Morgan Chase use Python as one of the main languages they use in their businesses.
Python is well sought out because it’s considered the main language for machine learning, artificial intelligence, and data science. It’s the preferred language for this new and innovative industry.
The C++ programming language dates back to 1979 and is still considered popular by today’s programmers and developers. But what made it stay on the top-tier list of programming languages after all these years?
Professionals in the space attributed its success to performance. This language is considered the gold standard for high-performance software. Another factor to its success would be its speed. Even though a lot of competitors have risen throughout the years, C++ has still created some of the fastest software in the market.
C++ also houses one of the most robust ecosystems in the industry. Being part of most programming curricula, it has a massive collection of dev tools, third-party components, manuals, and libraries. This gives developers more resources to learn from and study if they encounter an issue.
Ruby is a very beginner-friendly programming language. Being an OOP language, it is structured to enforce good programming habits, making the users excellent coders.
Being beginner-friendly, Ruby allows you to get the job done or do your tasks without writing a lot of code from the beginning. Although Ruby is mostly used for web applications, it is much like Python in the context where it has many applications as well. It can be used in data analysis, prototyping, and proof of concepts.
Ruby also has a fast development factor to it. Because of its modular design and lean code base, users can get a website up and running 30-50% faster than using any other backend language.
The benefits explained above show why object-oriented programming matters. The advantages it gives come second to none. This paradigm shift or school of thought has helped beginners, intermediate, to even experts in the space. It has allowed them to create more products that are easier to handle and troubleshoot. Plus, adhering to the ideas above allowed them to develop great IT skills.
Regardless of the criticisms behind object-oriented programs, the success it has brought to developers and programmers alike has been massive. It has even benefitted multi-billion companies to create a more seamless process and system for both their employees and customers.