Classes vs. Structures

Difference Between Classes and Structures

Polymorphism, encapsulation and inheritance are some of the prime concepts of OO or, Object Oriented programming language. Class and structure are two such OO tools that aid programmers to perform these concepts in most OO programming languages. Only Java does not provide structures. Classes are an abstract representation of objects in the real world. On the other hand, structures are very similar to classes, and can be put to similar use, but they have some restrictions as compared to classes. Both classes and structures are utilized to put similar types of data into a group.

What are Classes?

The classes represent the objects of the real world in an abstract form. The relationships on the other hand, represent the way that the classes are connected to others. Both the classes and the relationships have properties called attributes. The methods in classes determine the conduct of these classes. These methods and attributes of the classes all called members of the class. Usually encapsulation is accomplished by making the attributes private. Public methods can be created to get access to these attributes. Any object is an example of class. The inheritance permits the user to expand the classes, called sub from other super classes. Polymorphism allows the user or the programmer to exchange an object of a class for an object of a superior class. Usually the names found in the problem definition, are the classes of the program. The verbs, which are used, are the methods. The different access modifiers used for the classes are public, private or protected modifiers. A class diagram typically depicts the systems of the class, the relations between the classes and their various attributes.

What are the structures?

Structures are very similar to classes and have a similar use, but they have a limited capacity compared to classes. In fact, it can be said that classes are an extension to structures. For example, in C++, the structures are the same as classes, but by default, they have public members. A user can define a structure to depict a composite style. Like classes, structures too contain members that may belong to many different types. The keyword ‘struct’ is used for the purpose of defining a structure in C and C++, while the keyword ‘Structure’ is used for the same purpose in the programming languages .NET

What is the difference between classes and structures?

Both classes and structures are tools for programming languages, yet they have many differences. Usually the class is an extended form of the structure; thus, the structures have some restrictions. Structures can be taken to be the same as classes in C++, but unlike in structures, in classes, the members are not public by default. This really means that you can define a class and a structure using the same features by applying the right access modifiers in C++. However, in C, the structures cannot support functions or overloaded operations. In C++, Class and struct are the two keywords, which are applied to define a class and a structure. In .NET languages like C# and VB.NET, class is a type of reference, while the structure is a type of value. Generally, the structures are applied for smaller objects, while classes are applied for bigger objects that are stored in the memory for a longer period of time.


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