What is Abstract Class in Java?
The following article provides an outline for Abstract Class in Java. Abstract classes are like any other normal classes in java. The major difference between abstract and normal classes is creating the abstract class; we need to use the ‘ABSTRACT’ keyword. It is a separation of class implementation. They used to define the very common features of its subclasses. Such a type of class is referred to as Abstract class. Most important, we cannot create an object of an abstract class.
Abstract classes can contain abstract as well as non-abstract methods. However, they cannot contain a body of the abstract method that the subclass can only provide; If the subclass is not providing the implementation of the abstract method, then we have to make it ABSTRACT explicitly. In other words, if a class contains an abstract method, then it has to define itself as ABSTRACT. We can group several java classes using abstract classes, optimize the code, and make the code more readable and reduce redundancy. It also provides a template for future classes.
Syntax of Abstract Class in Java
The syntax of abstract class is as follows:
How does Abstract Class Work in Java?
Let us discuss how abstract class works in java:
- An abstract class has an abstract method and a non-abstract method, i.e. abstract method without a body, and they can have methods with implementation also.
- An abstract class is used to provide the most common feature that is specific to different classes. Subclasses can provide a different implementation of those abstract methods according to their needs or requirement.
- We cannot create an object of an abstract class using the ‘new ‘ operator, but we can still define its constructor, which can only be invoked in the constructor of its subclass. Subclass constructor can access a superclass constructor to initialize its variable, which might be used in the subclass for further requirement.
Examples of Abstract Class in Java
The following examples are provided below.
public abstract class Human
public abstract void whatTheylike();
public void doTheysleep()
System.out.println("Yes every human require sleep.");
public class Human1 extends Human
public void whatTheylike()
System.out.println("we like to have icecream.");
public class Human2 extends Human
public void whatTheylike()
System.out.println("we like to have coffee.");
public class TestHuman
public static void main(String args)
Human human1 = new Human1();
Human human2 = new Human2();
In the above example, we have HUMAN as an abstract class that defines a human’s common needs, likes, and dislikes. There are different types of humans with different likes and dislikes. So every human can provide a specific implementation of what they like. That will be specific to them only.
The main advantage of abstract class is that we have a specific implementation of methods according to a requirement, reducing redundancy, increasing the readability of code, hiding the implementation of methods, and providing partial abstraction.
We can have one more example to understand when we should use Abstract classes.
- We should use abstract class when we want to share common functionality between different classes with specific implementation.
- In abstract classes, fields should be not static and final; we can also have concrete, private, public and protected methods.
Let say we have one Animal class. There are varieties of animals we have on earth, and they all are different from each other in some or major sense. Nevertheless, it will contain all the common features of all.
Now, this Animal class cannot have methods that are specific to every animal. So by the concept of Abstract class, we can implement this functionality without redundant code.
All animals have different types of sound, habits, etc. For example Dog, cat, elephant, and snack they all have a different sound. So for this, we can have a generic method in the parent class through which all other subclass or child class can provide their own specific implementation.
In parent class, i.e. Animal, we have one generic abstract method called their Sound (). So every child class needs to override this method and provide their own specific implementation.
Abstract Class and Interface
Below are the distinctions between Abstract Class and Interface:
- Abstract class and interface both are used to achieve abstraction in java. However, an abstract class provides partial abstraction, whereas an interface provides 100% or complete abstraction.
- By default, variables in an interface are final. But abstract class contains a non-final variable as well. Similarly, an abstract class can have a static, non–static variable as well. But Interface will only contain a final and static variable.
- Member variables of an abstract class can be private, public, and protected, but they are by default public in the interface.
- An abstract class can extend another Java class and implement multiple interfaces, but one interface can only extend another interface. Likewise, an abstract class can provide an implementation of an interface, but an interface cannot do so.
- We use implements and extend keywords to implement and extend interface and classes, respectively.
- Through method, we can modify or access the non-static and non-final variables of an abstract class.
An abstract class is used to provide partial abstraction. An abstract class cannot be instantiated using the NEW keyword. An Abstract method has no body and always ends with a semicolon (;). Abstract class contains abstract and non-abstract methods. The subclass of an abstract superclass needs to implement all abstract methods; if it does not provide, then it has to declare itself as an abstract class. A subclass can be abstract even if the superclass is concrete. A non-abstract class cannot contain abstract methods. Also, the abstract method is non-static. Hence we can say that abstract classes contain abstract and concrete methods as well, so they cannot provide 100% abstraction. It is a process of hiding the complex logic from the end-user and showing them only the services. On the other hand, a subclass can be abstract even if its superclass is concrete, and it can also be used as a data type. An abstract class may have static fields and static methods. You can use these static members with a class reference.
This is a guide to Abstract Class in Java. Here we discuss how it functions, examples of abstract class in java with distinctions between abstract class and interface. You may also look at the following articles to learn more –