Abstract Classes in Java

Object Oriented ProgrammingJava 8Programming

Abstract Class

A class which contains the abstract keyword in its declaration is known as an abstract class.

  • Abstract classes may or may not contain abstract methods, i.e., methods without a body ( public void get(); )

  • But, if a class has at least one abstract method, then the class must be declared abstract.

  • If a class is declared abstract, it cannot be instantiated.

  • To use an abstract class, you have to inherit it from another class, provide implementations for the abstract methods in it.

  • If you inherit an abstract class, you have to provide implementations to all the abstract methods in it.

Example

This section provides you an example of the abstract class. To create an abstract class, just use the abstract keyword before the class keyword, in the class declaration.

/* File name : Employee.java */
public abstract class Employee {
   private String name;
   private String address;
   private int number;

   public Employee(String name, String address, int number) {
      System.out.println("Constructing an Employee");
      this.name = name;
      this.address = address;
      this.number = number;
   }
   public double computePay() {
      System.out.println("Inside Employee computePay");
      return 0.0;
   }
   public void mailCheck() {
      System.out.println("Mailing a check to " + this.name + " " + this.address);
   }
   public String toString() {
      return name + " " + address + " " + number;
   }
   public String getName() {
      return name;
   }
   public String getAddress() {
      return address;
   }
   public void setAddress(String newAddress) {
      address = newAddress;
   }
   public int getNumber() {
      return number;
   }
}

You can observe that except abstract methods the Employee class is the same as the normal class in Java. The class is now abstract, but it still has three fields, seven methods, and one constructor.

Now you can try to instantiate the Employee class in the following way −

/* File name : AbstractDemo.java */
public class AbstractDemo {

   public static void main(String [] args) {
      /* Following is not allowed and would raise error */
      Employee e = new Employee("George W.", "Houston, TX", 43);
      System.out.println("\n Call mailCheck using Employee reference--");
      e.mailCheck();
   }
}

When you compile the above class, it gives you the following error −

Employee.java:46: Employee is abstract; cannot be instantiated      
   Employee e = new Employee("George W.", "Houston, TX", 43);                    
      ^
1 error

Inheriting the Abstract Class

We can inherit the properties of Employee class just like a concrete class in the following way −

Example

/* File name : Salary.java */
public class Salary extends Employee {
   private double salary;   // Annual salary

   public Salary(String name, String address, int number, double salary) {
      super(name, address, number);
      setSalary(salary);
   }
   public void mailCheck() {
      System.out.println("Within mailCheck of Salary class ");
      System.out.println("Mailing check to " + getName() + " with salary " + salary);
   }
   public double getSalary() {
      return salary;
   }
   public void setSalary(double newSalary) {
      if(newSalary >= 0.0) {
         salary = newSalary;
      }
   }
   public double computePay() {
      System.out.println("Computing salary pay for " + getName());
      return salary/52;
   }
}

Here, you cannot instantiate the Employee class, but you can instantiate the Salary Class, and using this instance you can access all the three fields and seven methods of Employee class as shown below.

/* File name : AbstractDemo.java */
public class AbstractDemo {

   public static void main(String [] args) {
      Salary s = new Salary("Mohd Mohtashim", "Ambehta, UP", 3, 3600.00);
      Employee e = new Salary("John Adams", "Boston, MA", 2, 2400.00);
      System.out.println("Call mailCheck using Salary reference --");
      s.mailCheck();
      System.out.println("\n Call mailCheck using Employee reference--");
      e.mailCheck();
   }
}

This produces the following result −

Output

Constructing an Employee
Constructing an Employee
Call mailCheck using Salary reference --
Within mailCheck of Salary class  
Mailing check to Mohd Mohtashim with salary 3600.0

Call mailCheck using Employee reference--
Within mailCheck of Salary class  
Mailing check to John Adams with salary 2400.0
raja
Published on 20-Jul-2018 06:34:27
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