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Interface (I/F)

Definition - What does Interface (I/F) mean?

An interface specifies a group and/or a set of methods, which have not been implemented. When a class implements an interface, the class provides an implementation to all defined interface methods. A single class may implement any number of interfaces. Sometimes, constant declarations are included in an interface, along with method definitions.

Disadvantages for the interface is that all interface methods must be public and only abstract methods may be used in an interface. However, because these methods are implicit, they are not declared.

Techopedia explains Interface (I/F)

An interface is best explained with an example. The most common example is the connections among a television, a remote control, and a user. A user turns on the TV by using the remote control and may not necessarily know anything about the TV’s wiring. Thus, the remote control is an interface between the user and the television set.

Similarly, when a class implements an interface, the method functionalities are implemented without knowledge of the method's inner workings.

The following are examples of when to use an interface:

  • When two or more unrelated classes implement a set of methods, which may be defined in an interface and then implemented by the classes.
  • When an interface is a good alternative to multiple class inheritance.
  • When an object’s functionality is revealed without described implementation.
This definition was written in the context of Programming
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