Sai Stuff to Developers

June 20, 2012

Short Description about Abstract Classes

Filed under: C++,OOPS Languages — tosaik @ 10:40 am
Tags: , ,

An abstract class is a class that is designed to be specifically used as a base class. An abstract class contains at least one pure virtual function. You declare a pure virtual function by using a pure specifier (= 0) in the declaration of a virtual member function in the class declaration.

The following is an example of an abstract class:

class vehicle{

public:

virtual void speed() = 0;

};

Function vehicle::speed is a pure virtual function. A function declaration cannot have both a pure specifier and a definition. For example, the compiler will not allow the following:

struct A {

virtual void g() { } = 0;

};

You cannot use an abstract class as a parameter type, a function return type, or the type of an explicit conversion, nor can you declare an object of an abstract class. You can, however, declare pointers and references to an abstract class. The following example demonstrates this:

class A {

virtual void f() = 0;

};

class B :public A {

virtual void f() { }

};

// Error:

// Class A is an abstract class

// A g();

// Error:

// Class A is an abstract class

// void h(A);

A& i(A&);

int main() {

// Error:

// Class A is an abstract class

//   A a;

A* pa;

B b;

// Error:

// Class A is an abstract class

//   static_cast<A>(b);

}

Class A is an abstract class. The compiler would not allow the function declarations A g() or void h(A), declaration of object a, nor the static cast of b to type A.

Virtual member functions are inherited. A class derived from an abstract base class will also be abstract unless you override each pure virtual function in the derived class.

For example:

class AB {

public:

virtual void f() = 0;

};

class D2 : public AB {

void g();

};

int main() {

D2 d;

}

The compiler will not allow the declaration of object d because D2 is an abstract class; it inherited the pure virtual function f()from AB. The compiler will allow the declaration of object d if you define function D2::g().

Note that you can derive an abstract class from a nonabstract class, and you can override a non-pure virtual function with a pure virtual function.

You can call member functions from a constructor or destructor of an abstract class. However, the results of calling (directly or indirectly) a pure virtual function from its constructor is undefined. The following example demonstrates this:

Class A {

A() {

direct();

indirect();

}

virtual void direct() = 0;

virtual void indirect() { direct(); }

};

The default constructor of A calls the pure virtual function direct() both directly and indirectly (through indirect()).

The compiler issues a warning for the direct call to the pure virtual function, but not for the indirect call.

Advertisements

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: