Thursday, February 26, 2009

Java Abstract Class and Interface Interview Questions

1 What is the difference between Abstract class and Interface?

What is similarities/difference between an Abstract class and Interface?

1. Abstract class is a class which contain one or more abstract methods, which has to be implemented by sub classes. An abstract class can contain no abstract methods also i.e. abstract class may contain concrete methods. A Java Interface can contain only method declarations and public static final constants and doesn't contain their implementation. The classes which implement the Interface must provide the method definition for all the methods present.

2. Abstract class definition begins with the keyword "abstract" keyword followed by Class definition. An Interface definition begins with the keyword "interface".

3. Abstract classes are useful in a situation when some general methods should be implemented and specialization behavior should be implemented by subclasses. Interfaces are useful in a situation when all its properties need to be implemented by subclasses

4. All variables in an Interface are by default - public static final while an abstract class can have instance variables.

5. An interface is also used in situations when a class needs to extend an other class apart from the abstract class. In such situations its not possible to have multiple inheritance of classes. An interface on the other hand can be used when it is required to implement one or more interfaces. Abstract class does not support Multiple Inheritance whereas an Interface supports multiple Inheritance.

6. An Interface can only have public members whereas an abstract class can contain private as well as protected members.

7. A class implementing an interface must implement all of the methods defined in the interface, while a class extending an abstract class need not implement any of the methods defined in the abstract class.

8. The problem with an interface is, if you want to add a new feature (method) in its contract, then you MUST implement those method in all of the classes which implement that interface. However, in the case of an abstract class, the method can be simply implemented in the abstract class and the same can be called by its subclass

9. Interfaces are slow as it requires extra indirection to to find corresponding method in in the actual class. Abstract classes are fast

10.Interfaces are often used to describe the peripheral abilities of a class, and not its central identity, E.g. an Automobile class might
implement the Recyclable interface, which could apply to many otherwise totally unrelated objects.

Note: There is no difference between a fully abstract class (all methods declared as abstract and all fields are public static final) and an interface.

Note: If the various objects are all of-a-kind, and share a common state and behavior, then tend towards a common base class. If all they
share is a set of method signatures, then tend towards an interface.

Neither Abstract classes nor Interface can be instantiated

2 What does it mean that a method or class is abstract?

An abstract class cannot be instantiated. Only its subclasses can be instantiated. A class that has one or more abstract methods must be declared abstract. A subclass that does not provide an implementation for its inherited abstract methods must also be declared abstract. You indicate that a class is abstract with the abstract keyword like this:

public abstract class AbstractClass

Abstract classes may contain abstract methods. A method declared abstract is not actually implemented in the class. It exists only to be overridden in subclasses. Abstract methods may only be included in abstract classes. However, an abstract class is not required to have any abstract methods, though most of them do. Each subclass of an abstract class must override the abstract methods of its superclasses
or itself be declared abstract. Only the method’s prototype is provided in the class definition. Also, a final method can not be abstract and vice versa. Methods specified in an interface are implicitly abstract.
. It has no body. For example,

public abstract float getInfo()

3 What must a class do to implement an interface?

The class must provide all of the methods in the interface and identify the interface in its implements clause.

4 What is an abstract method?

An abstract method is a method whose implementation is deferred to a subclass.

5 What is interface? How to support multiple inhertance in Java?


What is a cloneable interface and how many methods does it contain?

An Interface are implicitly abstract and public. Interfaces with empty bodies are called marker interfaces having certain property or behavior. Examples:java.lang.Cloneable,,java.util.EventListener. An interface body can contain constant declarations, method prototype declarations, nested class declarations, and nested interface declarations.

Interfaces provide support for multiple inheritance in Java. A class that implements the interfaces is bound to implement all the methods defined in Interface.
Example of Interface:
public interface sampleInterface {
public void functionOne();

public long CONSTANT_ONE = 1000;

6 What is an abstract class?
Can you make an instance of an abstract class?

Abstract classes can contain abstract and concrete methods. Abstract classes cannot be instantiated directly i.e. we cannot call the constructor of an abstract class directly nor we can create an instance of an abstract class by using “Class.forName().newInstance()” (Here we get java.lang.InstantiationException). However, if we create an instance of a class that extends an Abstract class, compiler will initialize both the classes. Here compiler will implicitly call the constructor of the Abstract class. Any class that contain an abstract method must be declared “abstract” and abstract methods can have definitions only in child classes. By overriding and customizing the abstract methods in more than one subclass makes “Polymorphism” and through Inheritance we define body to the abstract methods. Basically an abstract class serves as a template. Abstract class must be extended/subclassed for it to be implemented. A class may be declared abstract even if it has no abstract methods. This prevents it from being instantiated. Abstract class is a class that provides some general functionality but leaves specific implementation to its inheriting classes.

Example of Abstract class:

abstract class AbstractClassExample{

protected String name;
public String getname() {
return name;
public abstract void function();

Example: Vehicle is an abstract class and Bus Truck, car etc are specific implementations

No! You cannot make an instance of an abstract class. An abstract class has to be sub-classed.
If you have an abstract class and you want to use a method which has been implemented, you may
need to subclass that abstract class, instantiate your subclass and then call that method.

7 What is meant by "Abstract Interface"?

Firstly, an interface is abstract. That means you cannot have any implementation in an interface.
All the methods declared in an interface are abstract methods or signatures of the methods.

8 How to define an Interface?

In Java Interface defines the methods but does not implement them. Interface can include constants.
A class that implements the interfaces is bound to implement all the methods defined in Interface.
Example of Interface:

public interface SampleInterface {
public void functionOne();

public long CONSTANT_ONE = 1000;

9 Can Abstract Class have constructors? Can interfaces have constructors?

Abstract class's can have a constructor, but you cannot access it through the object, since you cannot instantiate abstract class. To access the constructor create a sub class and extend the abstract class which is having the constructor.

public abstract class AbstractExample {
public AbstractExample(){
System.out.println("In AbstractExample()");

public class Test extends AbstractExample{
public static void main(String args[]){
Test obj=new Test();

10 If interface & abstract class have same methods and those methods contain no implementation, which one would you prefer?

Obviously one should ideally go for an interface, as we can only extend one class. Implementing an interface for a class is very much effective rather than extending an abstract class because we can extend some other useful class for this subclass


Raghav said...

Hey you have done a fantastic job..Its really useful..Keep on posting such useful information with brief explanation.

Raghav said...

Hi i have read the article..u mentioned that we don need to implement all the methods in the class extending the abstract class.But it is not true.U need to implement all the methods.

Satheesh Kannan !! Java said...

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