OOP in Java: Basic Concepts and Advantages

Object-oriented programming (OOP) is a popular programming paradigm used to build software systems that are modular, extensible, and easy to maintain. OOP enables developers to organize code into reusable objects that can interact with each other in a structured and well-defined way. Java is a powerful programming language that supports OOP, making it an ideal choice for building complex and scalable applications.

In this tutorial, we’ll introduce the basic concepts of OOP in Java, including classes, objects, inheritance, polymorphism, encapsulation, and abstraction. We’ll also discuss the advantages of OOP over procedural-oriented programming languages and provide practical examples to illustrate the concepts. Whether you’re new to programming or an experienced developer looking to learn Java OOP, this tutorial will provide a solid foundation for understanding this powerful programming paradigm.

What is Object-oriented programming?

Object-oriented programming (OOP) is a programming paradigm that is based on the concept of objects. In OOP, objects are instances of classes, which are templates for creating objects. A class defines the properties and behavior of objects of that type, while objects are instances of classes that have state (properties) and behavior (methods).

In OOP, objects interact with each other by sending messages, which are requests for an object to perform an action. The object that receives the message then invokes the appropriate method to perform the requested action. This allows for complex programs to be broken down into smaller, more manageable pieces that can interact with each other in a well-defined way.

One of the key advantages of OOP is that it promotes modularity, making it easier to build, maintain, and extend software. By encapsulating data and behaviour within objects, OOP allows for better code organization and reduces the risk of unintended side effects when modifying code. Additionally, OOP allows for code reuse, since classes can be inherited from and reused in new contexts.

Some of the key concepts in OOP include inheritance, polymorphism, encapsulation, and abstraction. Inheritance allows for classes to inherit properties and behaviour from other classes, while polymorphism allows for different objects to respond to the same message in different ways. Encapsulation allows for data to be hidden from other objects, while abstraction allows for the essential features of an object to be represented without including unnecessary details.

Java OOP Classes

In object-oriented programming, a class is a blueprint for creating objects. It defines a set of properties and methods that the objects of that class will have. In Java, classes are used to create objects, encapsulate data, and provide functionality.

To define a class in Java, you use the class keyword followed by the name of the class. The name of the class should start with an uppercase letter, and by convention, it should be in CamelCase. Here’s an example of a simple class in Java:

public class Person {
    String name;
    int age;

    public Person(String name, int age) {
        this.name = name;
        this.age = age;

    public void sayHello() {
        System.out.println("Hello, my name is " + name + " and I am " + age + " years old.");

This class defines two properties, name and age, and one method, sayHello(). The method prints a greeting that includes the person’s name and age. The constructor takes two arguments, name and age, and initializes the corresponding properties.

To create an object of this class, you use the new keyword followed by the name of the class and any arguments that the constructor requires. Here’s an example:

Person john = new Person("John", 30);

This creates an object of the Person class with the name “John” and age 30. You can call the sayHello() method on this object to print the greeting:


This will output:

Hello, my name is John and I am 30 years old.

For a more detailed tutorial on classes in Java OOP, check out our tutorial on Objects and Classes in Java.

Java OOP Objects

In Java OOP, an object is an instance of a class that represents a real-world entity, such as a person, a car, or a bank account. Objects are created using the new keyword, which invokes the constructor of the class to initialize its fields.

For example, suppose we have a Person class that has a name and an age field, as well as a constructor that takes these two arguments:

public class Person {
    private String name;
    private int age;

    public Person(String name, int age) {
        this.name = name;
        this.age = age;

To create a Person object, we can use the following code:

Person person = new Person("Alice", 25);

This creates a new Person object with the name “Alice” and the age 25.

Objects in Java have state and behavior. The state of an object is represented by its fields, while the behavior is represented by its methods. For example, we can add a sayHello method to the Person class that prints a greeting to the console:

public class Person {
    // ...

    public void sayHello() {
        System.out.println("Hello, my name is " + name + " and I am " + age + " years old.");

To call the sayHello method on the person object, we can use the following code:


This will print the following output to the console:

Hello, my name is Alice and I am 25 years old.

It’s important to note that there is a difference between a class and an object in Java OOP. If you’re not familiar with this difference, check out Object vs Class in Java for more information.

By understanding how objects work in Java OOP, you can create powerful and flexible programs that model real-world entities and perform complex operations on them.

Java OOP Inheritance

Inheritance is a fundamental concept in object-oriented programming that allows one class to inherit the properties and methods of another class. In Java, you can create a subclass that inherits from a superclass using the extends keyword.

For example, let’s say you have a superclass called Vehicle that has properties like make, model, and year. You can create a subclass called Car that inherits these properties from Vehicle. Here’s how you can define the Car class:

public class Car extends Vehicle {
    // additional properties and methods specific to Car

By extending the Vehicle class, the Car class automatically inherits all of its properties and methods. You can then add additional properties and methods to the Car class that are specific to cars, such as numDoors and numSeats.

Inheritance is a powerful tool in OOP that allows you to reuse code and create hierarchies of classes. It also allows you to create more specialized classes that are based on more general classes.

To learn more about inheritance in Java, check out our tutorial on Java Inheritance: A Beginner’s Guide. In that tutorial, we cover how to create subclasses, how to override methods, and how to use the super keyword to call methods from the superclass.

Java OOP Polymorphism

Polymorphism is one of the core concepts of object-oriented programming and refers to the ability of objects to take on multiple forms. In Java, polymorphism can be achieved through method overloading and method overriding.

Method overloading allows you to define multiple methods with the same name in a class, but with different parameter lists. When you call an overloaded method, the Java compiler determines which method to call based on the arguments you pass in. This allows you to perform similar operations on different types of data, without having to write separate methods for each type.

On the other hand, method overriding allows you to define a method in a subclass with the same signature as a method in the superclass. When you call an overridden method on an object of the subclass, the method in the subclass is called instead of the method in the superclass. This allows you to customize the behaviour of a method in a subclass, while still maintaining the same method signature as the superclass.

Polymorphism can greatly simplify code and make it more readable and maintainable. By using polymorphism, you can write code that works with objects of different types, without having to know the specific type of each object. This makes your code more flexible and adaptable to changing requirements.

To learn more about polymorphism in Java OOP, check out our tutorial on Java Polymorphism. Additionally, you can read our tutorial on Method Overloading vs Method Overriding to gain a deeper understanding of the differences between these two techniques for achieving polymorphism in Java.

Java OOP Encapsulation

Encapsulation is one of the fundamental principles of Object-oriented programming (OOP). It refers to the idea of bundling data and methods that operate on that data within a single unit, which is called a class. This technique of encapsulation helps in hiding the implementation details of an object from the rest of the program, thereby promoting better code organization, security, and flexibility.

In Java, encapsulation is achieved by using access modifiers such as private, public, protected, and package-private (default) to control the visibility of class members (variables and methods). By using these modifiers, we can hide the internal state of an object and prevent outside code from accessing it directly. Instead, we provide a public interface (methods) that can be used to interact with the object in a controlled manner.

For example, let’s say we have a class called BankAccount that has two private instance variables, balance and accountNumber. We can provide public methods such as deposit, withdraw, and getBalance to allow clients to interact with the BankAccount object, while keeping the implementation details hidden. This way, we can maintain the integrity of the BankAccount object’s state and prevent unauthorized access or modification.

To learn more about encapsulation in Java OOP, you can check out this tutorial Encapsulation in Java. It covers encapsulation in detail, including how to use access modifiers, best practices for designing encapsulated classes, and examples of how encapsulation can improve code organization and security.

Java OOP Abstraction

Abstraction is an essential concept in object-oriented programming, and it refers to the ability to represent complex systems or objects in a simplified way. In Java, abstraction is implemented using abstract classes and interfaces.

An abstract class is a class that cannot be instantiated, but it can be used as a template for other classes. An abstract class can define abstract methods, which are methods that do not have an implementation. Subclasses of the abstract class must provide an implementation for the abstract methods, or they must also be declared abstract. Abstract classes can also define concrete methods that can be inherited by subclasses.

Interfaces are similar to abstract classes, but they can only define abstract methods and constants. Classes can implement interfaces to ensure that they provide certain functionality. By implementing an interface, a class promises to provide the methods defined in the interface, but it is free to implement those methods in any way it likes.

One of the main benefits of abstraction is that it allows you to work with complex systems or objects without needing to know all the details. Instead, you can work with a simplified interface that hides the complexity of the underlying system. This makes it easier to write and maintain code, since you don’t need to worry about the implementation details.

If you want to learn more about abstraction in Java, be sure to check out our tutorial on Abstract Classes and Methods in Java. This tutorial goes into more detail about how abstraction works in Java, and it provides examples of how to use abstract classes and interfaces in your code.

Advantages of OOP over procedural-oriented programming languages

Procedural-oriented programming languages are a type of programming language that organizes code into procedures or functions that are called in a specific order to achieve a specific task. The focus is on defining the steps needed to complete a task and the order in which they should be executed. In procedural programming, data and functions are separated and data is often treated as global, which can make the code less modular and harder to maintain. Examples of procedural-oriented programming languages include C and Pascal.

One of the key advantages of object-oriented programming (OOP) over procedural-oriented programming languages is the way it organizes code into modular, reusable, and extensible units called objects. This makes code easier to understand, maintain, and modify, especially for large and complex systems.

OOP also provides a higher degree of abstraction and encapsulation than procedural programming. By hiding the implementation details of an object behind a well-defined interface, OOP reduces the complexity and brittleness of code, making it more robust and resilient to change.

In addition, OOP enables polymorphism, which allows multiple objects to respond differently to the same message or method call. This makes it easier to write code that can handle different types of input or output without having to write separate code for each case.

Furthermore, OOP supports inheritance, which allows a new class to be derived from an existing class and inherit its properties and methods. This simplifies code reuse, promotes code organization, and reduces redundancy.

Finally, OOP provides better support for large-scale development, collaboration, and maintenance than procedural programming. By allowing developers to work on different parts of a system independently and integrating them later, OOP promotes modularity and reduces the risk of conflicts and errors.

Final words

Object-oriented programming (OOP) is a powerful paradigm for building scalable and maintainable software systems. This tutorial introduces the basic OOP concepts in Java, including classes, objects, inheritance, polymorphism, encapsulation, and abstraction. OOP has advantages over procedural-oriented programming languages in promoting code organization, reusability, and extensibility. Mastering OOP in Java enables developers to build complex and robust applications. We hope this tutorial provides a solid foundation and inspires further exploration of this exciting programming paradigm.

Frequently asked questions

  • How does polymorphism work in Java OOP, and what are some practical use cases for it?
    Polymorphism in Java OOP allows objects of different classes to be treated as if they were the same type. This is achieved through method overriding and method overloading. Practical use cases of polymorphism include implementing interfaces, writing generic code, and creating flexible and extensible software systems.
  • How does encapsulation in Java OOP help protect data privacy?
    Encapsulation in Java OOP helps protect data privacy by allowing data to be accessed only through specific methods defined in the class. This means that the data is hidden from the outside world and can only be accessed or modified in a controlled way. By controlling access to the data, encapsulation helps prevent unauthorized or unintended modifications, ensuring that the data remains in a valid state.
  • How do interfaces differ from abstract classes in Java OOP?
    In Java OOP, interfaces are like contracts that define a set of methods that a class must implement, while abstract classes are classes that cannot be instantiated and can contain both abstract and non-abstract methods. Unlike abstract classes, interfaces cannot contain implemented methods, and a class can implement multiple interfaces but can only extend one abstract class. Additionally, abstract classes can have protected or private data members, while interfaces can only have public static constants.
  • How does Java OOP handle garbage collection?
    Java OOP uses automatic garbage collection to manage memory. The JVM (Java Virtual Machine) keeps track of all objects created by the program and automatically removes objects that are no longer in use, freeing up memory for other objects. This eliminates the need for manual memory management, which can be error-prone and time-consuming. The garbage collector runs in the background and periodically checks for objects that are no longer referenced by the program. Once an object is identified as no longer in use, the garbage collector removes it from memory.

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