An abstract method is a type of computer programming method that does not provide the implementation details of the procedure that it defines. It provides only the declaration of the method, which is usually written as a prototype in a programming language. Abstract methods are often declared with the keyword abstract in languages such as Java and C#. By convention, the keyword virtual is used in C++.
Abstract methods are often used when building an application using object-oriented programming. They allow the programmer to define a class without having to provide details about how certain operations will be implemented. For example, a class may have a method called ‘add’, which can be declared as abstract. Subclasses can then define and implement this method in different ways. This provides flexibility in how certain operations are implemented within the codebase.
Abstract methods differ from concrete methods, which are methods that provide the implementation details of a procedure.
Abstract methods are often used in interfaces and base classes. An interface is a collection of abstract methods that allows two classes to communicate with each other. This communication is enabled by having both classes implement the same interface. Base classes, on the other hand, are classes that define some properties and methods that will be inherited by its subclasses. Abstract methods can be used in base classes to provide a framework for how certain operations should be handled by subclasses.
Abstract methods are also an essential part of polymorphism, which is an important concept in object-oriented programming. Polymorphism allows different implementations of a method to be used based on context. This is enabled by using different variations of the same abstract method implementation that are defined in different classes.
In conclusion, abstract methods are an important concept in computer programming that allows flexibility and provides the ability to use object-oriented programming tools such as polymorphism.