Class Variable

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What Does Class Variable Mean?

A class variable is an important part of object-oriented programming (OOP) that defines a specific attribute or property for a class and may be referred to as a member variable or static member variable.

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Techopedia Explains Class Variable

Many object-oriented programming (OOP) languages use a class as a template for a given type of object. Each individual manifestation of this class is known as an instance. Various instances of the same class share common properties and aspects of construction. Many properties of classes are called data fields. Developers also use methods to affect the behavior of a class and its instances. Examples of programming languages that use classes include Java, C. C#, C++, Microsoft Visual Basic (VB) and PHP.

Because class variables apply to an entire class and all of its instances – even when a given instance also may have its own variables – there can be confusion about the interaction of class variables and variables limited to an individual instance. In terms of programming, common questions involve when to define class variables and instance variables, and whether these two different types of variables have the potential to overlap or affect each other in an unforeseen way. Even though some code works without a specific definition of class variables, professionals often regard the addition of class variables as more accurate coding.

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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.