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object-oriented programming

A type of programming in which programmers define not only the data type of a data structure, but also the types of operations (functions) that can be applied to the data structure. In this way, the data structure becomes an object that includes both data and functions. In addition, programmers can create relationships between one object and another. For example, objects can inheritcharacteristics from other objects.

One of the principal advantages of object-oriented programming techniques over procedural programming techniques is that they enable programmers to create modules that do not need to be changed when a new type of object is added. A programmer can simply create a new object that inherits many of its featuresfrom existing objects. This makes object-oriented programs easier to modify.

To perform object-oriented programming, one needs an object-oriented programming language (OOPL). Java, C++ and Smalltalk are three of the more popular languages, and there are also object-oriented versions of Pascal.

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