Intro to Java Interfaces

This entry is part 4 of 13 in the series Intro to Java

Interfaces are a very important part of Java. They can also be quite confusing. In this lesson, we want to take a look at Interfaces, what they are, their relationship to classes, and how and why we use them.

Sun Trails


Link into Object Oriented Programming Concepts Trail: (interfaces)

What is an Interface?

I think of an interface as like a contract. If you want to fulfill a contract, you have certain obligations to fulfill. The same for a Java contract (interface). An interface defines a set of obligations that an implementing class needs to provide. The obligations are nothing more than method signatures. No code, just the signatures. The class that implements the interface provides the code.

The other thing an interface does, is it allows different classes to appear similar, at least in so far as they implement the interface. As you will see, a Bird, a Fish, and a Mammal are not the same, but if they all implement the Animal interface, then we can treat them all like Animals.

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