Interfaces in Java

An interface in the Java programming language is an abstract type that is used to specify a behavior that classes must implement. They are similar to protocols. Interfaces are declared using the interface keyword, and may only contain method signature and constant declarations (variable declarations that are declared to be both static and final). All methods of an Interface do not contain implementation (method bodies) as of all versions below Java 8. Starting with Java 8, default and static methods may have implementation in the interface definition.

Interfaces cannot be instantiated, but rather are implemented. A class that implements an interface must implement all of the non-default methods described in the interface, or be an abstract class. Object references in Java may be specified to be of an interface type; in each case, they must either be null, or be bound to an object that implements the interface.

One benefit of using interfaces is that they simulate multiple inheritance. All classes in Java must have exactly one base class, the only exception being java.lang.Object (the root class of the Java type system); multiple inheritance of classes is not allowed. However, an interface may inherit multiple interfaces and a class may implement multiple interfaces.

Interfaces are used to encode similarities which the classes of various types share, but do not necessarily constitute a class relationship. For instance, a human and a parrot can both whistle; however, it would not make sense to represent Humans and Parrots as subclasses of a Whistler class. Rather they would most likely be subclasses of an Animal class (likely with intermediate classes), but both would implement the Whistler interface.

Interfaces are defined with the following syntax:


     
[visibility] interface InterfaceName [extends other interfaces]
{
        constant declarations
        abstract method declarations
}
 
   
A real program interface syntax should look like this:

public interface Interface1 extends Interface2;

The body of the interface contains abstract methods, but since all methods in an interface are, by definition, abstract, the abstract keyword is not required. Since the interface specifies a set of exposed behaviors, all methods are implicitly public.

A simple interface may look like:



public interface Predator
{
       boolean chasePrey(Prey p);
       void eatPrey(Prey p);
}
   

The member type declarations in an interface are implicitly static, final and public, but otherwise they can be any type of class or interface.

References : Wikipedia | Oracle share on :        :  

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