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Coder Definitions Page

These Definitions are contributed by you (our online community members). They are organized by our knowledge base topics. Specifically, by the Coder sub-topics.

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35 Coding & OO Definitions

Group: Coding & OO

Topic: Borland Database Engine

#1. BDE Alias - A BDE Alias or alias refers to a database location. For Paradox, dBASE, and other local tables, the location of the database is the location of the data files. You manage your aliases using the Borland Database Engine (BDE) located in your Control Panel.

Topic: General .Net Concepts

#2. Class - A collection of related fields, properties, methods, and events.
#3. Namespace - A means of organizing .NET code.

Topic: General Coding Concepts

#4. API - API is an acronym for application programming interface. The Windows API is the set of DLLs that makes up Windows. It comprises all the functions, messages, data structures, data types, statements, and files that a programmer needs for developing Windows applications.
#5. Array - A data type that is a collection of variables (much like a table is a collection of fields). There are two types: fixed and resizable. A fixed array has a predetermined--by the programmer--number of elements. A resizable does not; therefore you need to set its size before using it.
#6. Associative Array - A set of unique keys linked to a set of values. Each unique key is associated with a value. Think of it as a two column table. MyArray['CA'] = 'California' MyArray['AR'] = 'Arizona'
#7. Black Box - The term black box refers to not being able to see what is within the box. For example, in coding, you do not need to concern yourself with the details of what happens when you call a method, you simply use the method, the black box, to do the thing you wanted it to do. This is also called encapsulation.
#8. Computer Language Constants -

A constant is just like a variable (it holds a value) but, unlike a variable, you cannot change the value of a constant.

#9. Computer Language Operator - A language symbol used for assignment, comparison, computational, or as a logical.
#10. Computer Language Statement - An elementary instruction or other elementary component in a high-level programming language. When documenting a programming language, tech writers usually separate statements from operators, functions, procedures, and objects.
#11. Event Handler -

In computer programming, an event handler is part of event driven programming where the events are created by the framework based on interpreting inputs. Each event allows you to add code to an application-level event generated by the underlying framework, typically GUI triggers such as a key press, mouse movement, action selection, and an expired timer. In addition, events can represent data changes, new data, etc. Specifically, an event handler is an asynchronous callback subroutine that handles inputs received in a program.

A custom event is a programmer created event. For example, you can contrast an event handler with a member event, an OOP concept where you add an event to a class.

#12. Inline Routines -

Instead of calling a routine, you move the code from the routine itself and expand it in place of the call. In addition to manual inlining, some languages support automatic inlining where the compiler or some other pre-compiler decides when to inline a code routine. Also, some languages allow for developer defined inlining where the developer can suggest and/or force the inlining of a code routine. Inlining can optimize your code for speed by saving a call and return, and parameter management.

#13. Overloading -

Types of overloading include method overloading and operator overloading.

Method Overloading is where different functions with the same name are invoked based on the data types of the parameters passed or the number of parameters. Method overloading is a type of polymorphism and is also known as Parametric Polymorphism.

Operater Overloading allows an operator to behave differently based on the types of values used. For example, in some languages the + operator is used both to add numbers and to concatenate strings. Custom operator overloading is sometimes referred to as ad-hoc polymorphism.

#14. Pointers / References -

A pointer is a variable type that allows you to refer indirectly to another object. Instead of holding data, a pointer holds the address to data -- the address of another variable or object. You can change the address value a pointer points to thus changing the variable or object the pointer is pointing to.

A reference is a type of pointer that cannot change and it must always point to a valid storage (no nulls).

#15. Programming Literals -

A value directly written into the source code of a computer program (as opposed to an identifier like a variable or constant). Literals cannot be changed. Common types of literals include string literals, floating point literals, integer literals, and hexidemal literals. Literal strings are usually either quoted (") or use an apostrophe (') which is often referred to as a single quote. Sometimes quotes are inaccurately referred to as double quotes.

#16. Stack - A queue-like data structure which supports the last in, first out functionality.
#17. Unary Operator -

An operation with only one operand (a single input). Common unary operators include + plus, - minus, and bitwise not. Some operators can function as both unary and binary operators. For example, + and - operators can serve as either.

Topic: Object Orientation (OO)

#18. Abstract Class / Abstract Member -

An abstract class member is a member that is specified in a class but not implemented. Classes that inherit from the class will have to implement the abstract member. Abstract members are a technique for ensuring a common interface with descendant classes. An abstract class is a class you cannot instantiate. A pure abstract class is a class with only abstract members.

#19. Aggregation -

Aggregations indicate a whole-part relationship, and are known as "has-a" or "is part of" relationships. An Aggregation relationship is indicated by a line with a hollow diamond.

#20. Class Constructor -

Constructors are called when you instantiate an object from a class. This is where you can initialize variables and put code you wish executed each time the class is created. When you initially set the member fields and properties of an object, you are initializing the state of the object. The state of an object is the values of all it's member fields and properties at a given time.

#21. Class Destructor -

A special class method called when an object instance of a class is destroyed. With some languages they are called when the object instance goes out of scope, with some languages you specifically have to call the destructor in code to destroy the object, and others use a garbage collector to dispose of object instances at specific times.

Desctructors are commonly used to free the object instance but with languages that have a garbage collector object instances are disposed of when appropriate. Either way, destructors or their equivalent are commonly used to free up resources allocated in the class constructor.

#22. Class Helper -

A. In Dephi, class helpers allow you to extend a class without using inheritance. With a class helper, you do not have to create and use a new class descending from a class but instead you enhance the class directly and continue using it as you always have (even just with the DCU).

B. In general terms, developers sometimes use the term to refer to any class that helps out another class.

#23. Class Visibility Specifiers - In OOP languages, members of a class have a specific scope that indicates visibility. Standard visibility includes private, protected, and public. Private members are usable by the defining class only (fully encapsulated). They are invisible outside of the class except by friendly classes. Protected members are usable by the defining class and descendant classes only (plus friendly classes). Public members are usable wherever its class can be referenced.
#24. Code Contract -

A.k.a. Class Contract and Design by Contracts.

A contract with a method that must be true upon calling (pre) or exiting (post). A pre-condition contract must be true when the method is called. A post-condition contract must be true when exiting. If either are not true, an error is raised. For example, you can use code contracts to check for the validity of input parameters, and results

An invariant is also a code contract which validates the state of the object required by the method.

#25. Composition - A composite relationship means that a class cannot exist by itself. It must exist as a member of another class. A composite relationship is indicated by a solid line with a solid diamond head pointing to the part class. Alternatively, you can show this relationship graphically with the part class nested in the whole class.
#26. Encapsulation - Hidden data and methods. Encapsulation is the hiding of data and code and is often called the "black box" approach, since users of a class can't see inside the class (they can only see the class' public interface).
#27. Inheritance -

The concept of a class makes it possible to define subclasses that share some or all of the main class characteristics. This is called inheritance. Inheritance also allows you to reuse code more efficiently. In a class tree, inheritance is used to design classes vertically. (You can use Interfaces to design classes horizontally within a class tree.) With inheritance, you are defining an "is-a" relationship (i.e. a chow is-a dog). Analysts using UML call this generalization where you generalize specific classes into general parent classes.

#28. Interface -

An element of coding where you define a common set of properties and methods for use with the design of two or more classes.

Both interfaces and abstract classes are types of abstraction. With interfaces, like abstract classes, you cannot provide any implementation. However, unlike abstract classes, interfaces are not based on inheritance. You can apply an Interface to any class in your class tree. In a real sense, interfaces are a technique for designing horizontally in a class hierarchy (as opposed to inheritance where you design vertically). Using interfaces in your class design allows your system to evolve without breaking existing code.

#29. Member Event -

A custom event added by a programmer to a class. Custom created events need to be processed, usually by an event dispatcher within a framework.

#30. Member Field -

Also known as a Class Field.

A class variable defined with a specific class visibility, usually private visibility. A member property is different than a member field. A member property uses a member field to store values through accessor methods (getters and setters). For example, it is common to use a private member field to store the current value of a property. The current values of all the class member fields is the current state of the object.

#31. Member Method -

Also known as a Class Method.

A code routine that belongs to the class or an object instance (an instance of the class). Methods that belong to the class are called class methods or static methods. Methods that belong to an object instance are called instance methods, or simply methods.

When a method returns a value, it is a function method. When no value is returned (or void), it is a procedure method.

Methods frequently use method parameters to transfer data. When one object instance calls another object instance using a method with parameters, you call that messaging.

#32. Method Overriding -

Where you define or implement a virtual method in a parent class and then replace it in a descendant class.

When you decide to declare a method as virtual, you are giving permission to derived classes to extend and override the method with their own implementation. You can have the extended method call the parent method's code too.

In most OO languages you can also choose to hide a parent method. When you introduce a new implementation of the same named method with the same signature without overriding, you are hiding the parent method.

#33. Partial Class -

A partial class, or partial type, is a class that can be split into two or more source code files and/or two or more locations within the same source file. Each partial class is known as a class part or just a part. Logically, partial classes do not make any difference to the compiler. The compiler puts the class together at compile time and treats the final class or type as a single entity exactly the same as if all the source code was in a single location.

#34. Polymorphism -

A coding technique where the same named function, operator, or object behaves differently depending on outside input or influences. Usually implemented as parameter overloading where the same named function is overloaded with other versions that are called either with a different type or number of parameters. Polymorphism is a general coding technique and other specific implementations are common such as inheritance, operator overloading, and interfaces.

#35. Static Class / Static Member -

A static member is a member you can have access to without instantiating the class into an object. For example, you can read and write static properties and call static methods without ever creating the class. Static members are also called class members (class methods, class properties, etc.) since they belong to the class and not to a specific object. A static class is a class that contains only static members. In the UML, these classes are described as utility classes.

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