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What is Abstraction in OOPs (Object Oriented Programming)?

Published: 27th September, 2023
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Harshini Bhat

Data Science Consultant at almaBetter

Discover the concept of abstraction in OOPS. Learn how it simplifies complex systems by hiding implementation details and also Explore examples and benefits.

Well, in the world of computer programming, that's exactly what abstraction is all about. Let’s make a clear look at abstraction in oops concept Example - Think of it like this: When you use a TV remote, you don't need to know how the internal circuits work. You press a button, and the TV does its thing. That's abstraction in action!

In the realm of Object-Oriented Programming (OOPS), abstraction is like a magic cloak that hides complex details, making life easier for programmers.

But what's the real deal with abstraction?

Why is it essential, and how does it make our digital world tick?

Let us learn about what is abstraction in OOPS with example, making it as clear as a sunny day.

Overview of OOPS

Object-Oriented Programming (OOPS) is like organizing your code in a neat and tidy way. Instead of having a jumbled mess of code, OOPS helps you group similar things together, like putting all your toy cars in one box and all your action figures in another.

Each "thing" in OOPS is called an object, and it has its own characteristics (attributes) and actions (methods). Imagine an object as a mini-computer that knows how to do specific tasks.

Importance of OOPS in Software Development

OOPS is like having a toolbox full of well-organized tools. When you build software, you need different pieces to work together smoothly. OOPS helps you create reusable and understandable pieces of code (objects) that you can use again and again in different parts of your software. It's like using the same trusty screwdriver for different projects instead of searching for a new one each time. OOPS makes software development faster, less error-prone, and easier to understand. It's like having a clear instruction manual for building your software.

Definition of Abstraction in OOPS / Define Abstraction in OOPs

what is abstraction in oops? Abstraction in oops is the process of hiding the implementation details of an object from the user. This allows the user to focus on the essential features of the object without having to worry about how it works internally.

In OOPS, abstraction allows programmers to create abstract classes and methods that define the common structure and behavior for a group of objects, without providing the specific implementation details for each object. It abstracts away the complexities, highlighting only the relevant features.

Abstraction is a way of simplifying things. In programming, it means showing only the necessary parts and hiding the rest. Imagine you're playing a video game, and you only see the game character on the screen, not all the coding and calculations happening behind it. That's abstraction—making things easier to use.

The Role of Abstraction in OOPS

Abstraction in OOPS is like building with LEGO blocks. You don't need to understand how each block was made; you just know how to connect and use them.

In OOPS, abstraction lets you create objects (like LEGO pieces) with specific functions and details. You can use these objects without knowing everything about how they work internally.

Why Abstraction is Necessary

Abstraction is necessary because it simplifies complex tasks.

Imagine baking a cake: you follow a recipe without needing to be a food scientist. Similarly, abstraction allows programmers to use pre-built objects without diving into the technical details. It makes coding easier, faster, and less prone to errors, like following a recipe for a delicious cake.

Simplifies Complexity: Abstraction makes complex things simple. It's like using a smartphone without knowing how it's built; you tap icons to call, text, or play games. You don't need to be an engineer.

Saves Time: Abstraction saves time. Think of it as using a car instead of building one from scratch. You just drive, no need to be a mechanic.

Reduces Errors: Abstraction reduces mistakes. Just like following a recipe for baking, you follow rules without being a chef. In coding, it prevents errors.

Focuses on What Matters: It helps focus on what's important. Imagine writing a story—you care about characters and plot, not the paper's chemical composition. Abstraction lets programmers focus on the main task, not tiny details.

Encourages Collaboration: Abstraction enables teamwork. When building a house, you don't need to know plumbing to work with plumbers. In software, abstraction lets different programmers work on separate parts without knowing everything about each other's code.

Makes Code Reusable: Abstraction makes code reusable. Just like you can use the same recipe for baking, programmers can reuse code for similar tasks. Saves time and effort.

Manages Complexity: In a big project, it's like organizing a library. You don't need to read every book to find what you want. Abstraction organizes code, so you find what you need quickly.

Types of Abstraction in OOPS

Abstraction can be classified into following categories,

  • Data Abstraction: Simplify how you work with data.
  • Encapsulation: Protect and organize your data and methods.
  • Inheritance: Create new classes based on existing ones.
  • Polymorphism: Use objects in a generic way, regardless of their specific types.

Definition of Data Abstraction in OOPs with Example

Data abstraction in oops is the process of simplifying complex data structures by providing a high-level view or interface to manipulate the data, while hiding the underlying implementation details. It involves defining abstract data types (ADTs) that encapsulate data and the operations that can be performed on that data.

Data abstraction allows programmers to work with data at a conceptual level, without needing to understand the intricacies of how the data is stored and processed internally. It promotes modularity, reusability, and the separation of concerns in software design.

Imagine you have a smartphone. You don't need to know how the phone's internal circuits, processors, or software work to use it effectively. You interact with it through a user-friendly interface, such as a touchscreen and apps. This is an example of data abstraction.

Encapsulation and Abstraction in OOPs

Encapsulation and abstraction are two different and fundamental principles of Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) that help in designing and organizing code. Let’s look through it using the following table.

Screenshot 2023-09-27 131521.png

These two concepts work together to create well-structured and efficient object-oriented programs.

Levels of Abstraction

Levels of abstraction refer to different degrees of detail and complexity in a system or program.It involves organizing concepts or components in a hierarchical manner from high-level, less detailed views to low-level, highly detailed views.

Each level abstracts away certain details, allowing you to focus on specific aspects of the system. It's like zooming in and out on a map to see different levels of detail: from a world map (high-level abstraction) to a street-level map (low-level abstraction).

Let's explore the levels of abstraction in object-oriented programming (OOP) using the example of a tic-tac-toe game.

Level 1: High-Level Abstraction

At the highest level of abstraction, we have the concept of a "Tic-Tac-Toe Game."

We know that it's a two-player game played on a 3x3 grid, and the goal is to get three in a row.

This level doesn't concern itself with how the game mechanics work, just what the game is about.

Level 2: Game Mechanics Abstraction

  • Now, we dive one level deeper. We design the game mechanics.
  • We create classes for the game board, players, and rules.
  • These classes abstractly define how the game functions without specifying exact moves.
  • For instance, we have a Player class that knows how to make moves and a Board class that keeps track of the game state.

Level 3: Implementation Abstraction

  • At this level, we implement the actual game using our abstract classes.
  • We create instances of players, initialize the game board, and implement logic for moves, checking for a win, and ending the game.
  • This level involves writing specific code to make the game work as intended.

Level 4: User Interface Abstraction

  • Finally, we can add a graphical user interface (GUI) to interact with the game.
  • The GUI abstracts the game mechanics even further, providing buttons to make moves and displaying the game visually.

Users don't need to understand the underlying code; they just play the game. In this example, we start with a high-level concept of tic-tac-toe and progressively dive into more detailed abstractions until we have a fully functioning game. Each level builds upon the previous one, making it easier to manage and understand the complexities of the game. Abstraction allows us to handle complexity step by step.

Read our latest blog "Four Pillars of OOPs"

How Abstraction Works

Let’s understand abstraction in oops with real time example. We are goint to explore abstraction in the healthcare field with a unique example involving medical instruments:

  • At the highest level of abstraction, we think about "Medical Instruments." We know that medical instruments can have various types, such as diagnostic tools, surgical instruments, and monitoring devices.
  • Create abstract classes that define the essential features of medical instruments without specifying the exact implementation.
class MedicalInstrument:
    def __init__(self, name):
        self.name = name

    def operate(self):
        pass

    def sterilize(self):
        pass

class DiagnosticTool(MedicalInstrument):
    def operate(self):
        pass

class SurgicalInstrument(MedicalInstrument):
    def operate(self):
        pass

class MonitoringDevice(MedicalInstrument):
    def operate(self):
        pass

We have an abstract MedicalInstrument class and several subcategories of medical instruments like DiagnosticTool, SurgicalInstrument, and MonitoringDevice.

  • Create concrete classes for specific medical instruments, providing details of how each instrument operates and sterilizes.
class Stethoscope(DiagnosticTool):
    def operate(self):
        print("The stethoscope is used to listen to the patient's heart and lung sounds.")

class Scalpel(SurgicalInstrument):
    def operate(self):
        print("The scalpel is a precision cutting tool used in surgeries.")

class ECGMonitor(MonitoringDevice):
    def operate(self):
        print("The ECG monitor records the patient's heart activity.")

class Autoclave(MedicalInstrument):
    def sterilize(self):
        print("The autoclave uses steam to sterilize other medical instruments.")

We have concrete classes like Stethoscope, Scalpel, ECGMonitor, and Autoclave, each specifying how they operate or sterilize.

  • Now, we can create instances of these concrete classes and utilize them in a healthcare setting.

Working:

  • Abstraction allows us to conceptualize a high-level idea (medical instruments) and define abstract classes that outline their behavior.
  • Concrete classes inherit from these abstract classes and provide specific implementations of how each instrument operates or sterilizes.
  • When we use these concrete classes in a healthcare setting, we can perform actions without needing to understand the intricate details of each instrument's operation.
  • Abstraction simplifies healthcare instrument management and usage by focusing on what each instrument does without worrying about the underlying complexity.

Example of Abstraction in OOPS / Implementing Abstraction in OOPS

Abstract Classes

  • In Object-Oriented Programming (OOPS), abstraction starts with abstract classes.
  • Think of abstract classes as templates or blueprints for objects, but they can't be instantiated on their own.
  • They define what an object should have and do, without specifying the exact details.

Abstract Methods

  • Abstract methods are those declared in an abstract class but lack implementation details.
  • Concrete (non-abstract) subclasses must provide implementations for these methods.

Example:

Imagine we're creating a Disney movie character simulator!

  • In this Disney character simulator, we start by defining an abstract class called DisneyCharacter. Abstract classes serve as a blueprint for related classes but cannot be instantiated themselves.
  • DisneyCharacter has a constructor to set the character's name and an abstract method speak, which every Disney character should have.
from abc import ABC, abstractmethod

class DisneyCharacter(ABC):
    def __init__(self, name):
        self.name = name

    @abstractmethod
    def speak(self):
        pass
  • As we know, concrete classes inherit from the abstract class and provide concrete implementations for the abstract methods. In this case, MickeyMouse and Cinderella inherit from DisneyCharacter.
  • You can implement the speak method with their own unique greetings for the characters. For example, Mickey Mouse says, "Hi, I'm Mickey Mouse. Oh boy!" while Cinderella says, "Hello, I'm Cinderella. Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo!"
class MickeyMouse(DisneyCharacter):
    def speak(self):
        return f"Hi, I'm {self.name}. Oh boy!"

class Cinderella(DisneyCharacter):
    def speak(self):
        return f"Hello, I'm {self.name}. Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo!"
  • Now, we can create instances of these Disney characters, like mickey and cinderella.
  • We don't need to know the intricate details of how they speak; we simply call the speak method on each character.
  • When we ask them to speak, they enchant us with their unique greetings based on their concrete implementations.
mickey = MickeyMouse("Mickey Mouse")
cinderella = Cinderella("Cinderella")

print(mickey.speak())  # Mickey Mouse introduces himself
print(cinderella.speak())  # Cinderella introduces herself

Common Mistakes and Pitfalls

  1. Over-Abstracting:
  • This happens when you create too many abstract classes or methods, making your code overly complex and hard to understand.
  • For example, if you have an abstract class for every small component in a simple game, it can become confusing.
  1. Under-Abstracting:
  • On the other hand, under-abstraction means not using abstraction when it's necessary.
  • For instance, if you have a complex e-commerce system with no abstraction for handling payments, it can lead to duplicated and messy payment code.

Finding the right balance in abstraction is key to writing clean and maintainable code.

Conclusion

Abstraction is a fundamental concept in Object-Oriented Programming that allows us to simplify complex systems, focus on essential details, and create reusable code. It promotes clarity, flexibility, and ease of maintenance in software development. By understanding and applying abstraction effectively, programmers can build more efficient and scalable applications, making it a cornerstone of modern software engineering.

Frequently asked Questions

1.What is the main purpose of abstraction in Object-Oriented Programming (OOPS)?

Abstraction in OOPS primarily serves the purpose of simplifying complex systems by hiding implementation details. It allows programmers to focus on essential features of objects without needing to understand how they work internally.

2. How does abstraction differ from encapsulation in OOPS?

Abstraction and encapsulation are related but distinct concepts in OOPS. Abstraction focuses on simplifying complex systems by showing only necessary parts, while encapsulation involves bundling data and methods into a class and controlling access to them. Both principles work together to create well-organized code.

3. Why is abstraction necessary in software development?

Abstraction is necessary in software development because it simplifies tasks, saves time, reduces errors, and promotes code reusability. It allows programmers to work on specific aspects of a program without getting bogged down by low-level details, making code more manageable and maintainable.

4.What are the different types of abstraction in OOPS?

Abstraction in OOPS can be categorized into four main types: Data Abstraction: Simplifies how you work with data. Encapsulation: Protects and organizes data and methods. Inheritance: Allows the creation of new classes based on existing ones. Polymorphism: Enables using objects in a generic way, regardless of their specific types.

5.Can you provide an example of how abstraction is implemented in OOPS?

An example of abstraction in OOPS is the use of abstract classes and methods. Abstract classes serve as templates or blueprints for objects but cannot be instantiated on their own. Abstract methods defined in these classes lack implementation details and must be provided by concrete (non-abstract) subclasses. This allows for consistent behavior while accommodating specific implementations for different objects.

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