Monday, 22 May 2017

Basic elements of a Java Program

Basic elements of a Java Program

The basic elements of a Java application are introduced in this post.

Basic elements of a Java Program - Class
A class denotes a category of objects, and acts as a blueprint for creating such objects. A class models an abstraction by defining the properties and behaviors for the objects representing the abstraction. An object exhibits the properties and behaviors defined by its class. The properties of an object of a class are also called attributes, and are defined by fields in Java. A field in a class definition is a variable which can store a value that represents a particular property.  The behaviors of an object of a class are also known as operations, and are defined using methods in Java. Fields and methods in a class definition are collectively called members.

Basic elements of a Java Program - Object
The process of creating objects from a class is called instantiation. An object is an instance of a class. The object is constructed using the class as a blueprint and is a concrete instance of the abstraction that the class represents. An object must be created before it can be used in a program. In Java, objects are manipulated through object references. Each object has a unique identity and has its own copy of the fields declared in the class definition.

Instance Member
The fields of an object are called instance variables. The values of the instance variables in an object comprise its state. Two distinct objects can have the same state, if their instance variables have the same values. The methods of an object define its behavior. These methods are called instance methods. It is important to note that these methods pertain to each object of the class. Instance variables and instance methods, which belong to objects, are collectively called instance members.

Method invocation
Objects communicate by message passing. This means that an object can be made to exhibit a particular behavior by invoking the appropriate operation on the object. In Java, this is done by calling a method on the object using the dot '.' operator.  The dot '.' notation also can be used with a reference to access fields of an object.

Static member
In some cases, certain members should only belong to the class, and not be part of any object created from the class. Such a field is called a static variable. It belongs to the class, and not to any object of the class. A static variable is initialized when the class is loaded at runtime. Similarly, a class can have static methods that belong only to the class, and not to any objects of the class.  Static variables and static methods are collectively known as static members, and are distinguished from instance members in a class definition by the keyword static in their declaration.

Java Program
A Java program is a collection of one or more classes, with one of them containing the program's execution starting point. A Java source file can contain more than one class definition. The Java 2 SDK enforces the rule that at the most one class in the source file has public accessibility. The name of the source file is comprised of the name of this public class with .java as extension. Each class definition in a source file is compiled into a separate class file, containing Java byte code. The name of this file is comprised of the name of the class with .class as an extension. All programs must be compiled before they can be run. 
An application is what is normally called a program: source code that is compiled and directly executed. In order to create an application in Java, the program must have a class that defines a method called main. The main() method in the class is the starting point for the execution of any application.

public static void main(String [] args)
The main() method has public accessibility, that is, it is accessible from any class. The keyword static means the method belongs to the class. The keyword void means the method does not return any value. The parameter list, String[] args, is an array of strings used to pass information to the main() method when the application is started.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...