Last Updated: March 30, 2017

Definition - What does Abstraction mean?

Abstraction is the act of representing essential features without including the background details or explanations. In the computer science and software engineering domain, the abstraction principle is used to reduce complexity and allow efficient design and implementation of complex software systems.

Some areas of software design and implementation where the abstraction principle is applied include programming languages (mainly in object-oriented programming languages), specification languages, control abstraction, data abstraction and the architecture of software systems.

Techopedia explains Abstraction

Abstraction is one of the most important principles in object-oriented software engineering and is closely related to several other important concepts, including encapsulation, inheritance and polymorphism.

Abstraction is applied in the process of identifying software artifacts (objects) to model the problem domain. It is the process of reducing these objects to their essence such that only the necessary elements are represented. Abstraction defines an object in terms of its properties, functionality, and interface (means of communicating with other objects).

These methods are used to reduce the complexity of the design and implementation process of software. In that process, the designers define abstract object actors that are able to perform work, change their state and communicate with other actors. The state of the object is encapsulated while the detailed data structures associated with the object are kept behind the scenes.

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