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Object Oriented Programming with Python
Python has been an object-oriented language since it existed. Because of this, creating and using classes and objects are downright easy. This chapter helps you become an expert in using Python’s object-oriented programming support.
If you do not have any previous experience with object-oriented (OO) programming, you may want to consult an introductory course on it or at least a tutorial of some sort so that you have a grasp of the basic concepts.
However, here is small introduction of Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) to bring you at speed −
Overview of OOP Terminology
- Class − A user-defined prototype for an object that defines a set of attributes that characterize any object of the class. The attributes are data members (class variables and instance variables) and methods, accessed via dot notation.
- Class variable − A variable that is shared by all instances of a class. Class variables are defined within a class but outside any of the class’s methods. Class variables are not used as frequently as instance variables are.
- Data member − A class variable or instance variable that holds data associated with a class and its objects.
- Function overloading − The assignment of more than one behavior to a particular function. The operation performed varies by the types of objects or arguments involved.
- Instance variable − A variable that is defined inside a method and belongs only to the current instance of a class.
- Inheritance − The transfer of the characteristics of a class to other classes that are derived from it.
- Instance − An individual object of a certain class. An object obj that belongs to a class Circle, for example, is an instance of the class Circle.
- Instantiation − The creation of an instance of a class.
- Method − A special kind of function that is defined in a class definition.
- Object − A unique instance of a data structure that’s defined by its class. An object comprises both data members (class variables and instance variables) and methods.
- Operator overloading − The assignment of more than one function to a particular operator.
Object Oriented Programming in Python
Is Python Object Oriented?
Python is a great programming language that supports OOP. You will use it to define a class with attributes and methods, which you will then call. Python offers a number of benefits compared to other programming languages like Java, C++ or R. It’s a dynamic language with high-level data types. This means that development happens much faster than with Java or C++. It does not require the programmer to declare types of variables and arguments. This also makes Python easier to understand and learn for beginners, its code being more readable and intuitive.
How to create a class
To define a class in Python, you can use the
class keyword, followed by the class name and a colon. Inside the class, an
__init__ method has to be defined with
def. This is the initializer that you can later use to instantiate objects. It’s similar to a constructor in Java.
__init__ must always be present! It takes one argument:
self, which refers to the object itself. Inside the method, the
pass keyword is used as of now, because Python expects you to type something there. Remember to use correct indentation!