232 How Object-Oriented Programming Works To overcome the limitations of subprograms, computer scientists invented object-oriented programming (abbreviated as OOP). Like structured programming, which encourages you to break a large program into subprograms, OOP encourages you to break a large program into smaller parts, or objects. Object-oriented programming has actually been around since 1962 when two Norwegian computer scientists Ole-Johan Dahl and Kristen Nygaard developed a language called SIMULA, which was designed to help simulate realworld events. It took object-oriented programming nearly 40 more years to finally get accepted as a practical tool, so just because an idea is proven to work doesn’t mean people will accept it if they can continue being comfortable (and getting paid) to keep doing something that doesn’t work. How Object-Oriented Programming Works Like subprograms, objects divide a large program into smaller, interchangeable parts. The main difference is that subprograms divide a program into separate tasks whereas objects divide a program into real-world items. For example, consider a hotel reservation program used by the front desk when a guest checks in. Dividing this problem into tasks might create the following: ✦ Subprogram #1: RoomAvailable (Checks if a hotel room is available) ✦ Subprogram #2: RoomBeds (Checks if the room has 1 or 2 beds) ✦ Subprogram #3: RoomType (Checks if it’s a smoking or a nonsmoking room) ✦ Subprogram #4: RoomPrice (Checks the price) Dividing this problem into objects, you could create the following: ✦ Object #1: Guest ✦ Object #2: Front desk clerk ✦ Object #3: Hotel room Figure 7-1 shows how a task-oriented solution might break a program into multiple subprograms. The main program works by running each subprogram, one at a time, with each subprogram performing a specific task (such as determining whether a room is smoking or nonsmoking).
How Object-Oriented Programming Works 233 Main Program Figure 7-1: Dividing a program into tasks can obscure the actual purpose of a program. Room available? How many beds does the room have? Smoking or non-smoking room? What is the price? True or False 1 or 2 beds available Smoking or Non-smoking $158 Subprogram RoomAvailable Subprogram RoomBeds Subprogram RoomType Subprogram RoomPrice Book II Chapter 7 Figure 7-2 shows an equivalent object-oriented solution to the same program where each object represents a real-world item. Rather than having a single main program controlling multiple subprograms (like one boss controlling a dozen subordinates), OOP divides a program into multiple objects that pass messages to one another (like having a bunch of workers cooperating with one another as equals). Breaking a Large Program into Objects Although both subprograms and objects solve the same problem, they use different solutions. Object-oriented programming is basically a different way of thinking about how to solve problems. Figure 7-2: OOP divides a large program into objects that behave like their real-world counterparts. Guest Room available? Front desk clerk Subprogram RoomAvailable 1 or 2 beds Smoking or Non-smoking $159 Front desk clerk Subprogram RoomBeds Subprogram RoomType Subprogram RoomPrice Objects aren’t an alternative to subprograms. Subprograms solve a single task. Objects just organize related subprograms together.
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