In programming languages, an abstract type is a type in a nominative type system that cannot be instantiated directly; a type that is not abstract – which can be instantiated – is called a concrete type. Every instance of an abstract type is an instance of some concrete subtype. Abstract types are also known as existential types. An abstract type may provide no implementation, or an incomplete implementation. In some languages, abstract types with no implementation are known as protocols, interfaces, signatures, or class types. In class-basedobject-oriented programming, abstract types are implemented as abstract classes, and concrete types as concrete classes. In generic programming, the analogous notion is a concept, which similarly specifies syntax and semantics, but does not require a subtype relationship: two unrelated types may satisfy the same concept. Often, abstract types will have one or more implementations provided separately, for example, in the form of concrete subtypes that can be instantiated. In object-oriented programming, an abstract class may include abstract methods or abstract properties that are shared by its subclasses. Other names for language features that are used to implement abstract types include traits, mixins, flavors, roles, or type classes.
Signifying abstract types
Abstract classes can be created, signified, or simulated in several ways:
By including, in the class definition, one or more abstract methods, which the class is declared to accept as part of its protocol, but for which no implementation is provided.
By inheriting from an abstract type, and not overriding all missing features necessary to complete the class definition. In other words, a child type that doesn't implement all abstract methods from its parent becomes abstract itself.
In many dynamically typed languages such as Smalltalk, any class that sends a particular method to this, but doesn't implement that method, can be considered abstract. .
//By default, all methods in all classes are concrete, unless the abstract keyword is used. abstract class Demo //By default, all methods in all interfaces are abstract, unless the default keyword is used. interface DemoInterface
Use of abstract types
Abstract types are an important feature in statically typed OOP languages. Many dynamically typed languages have no equivalent feature ; however traits are found in some modern dynamically-typed languages. Some authors argue that classes should be leaf classes, or else be abstract. Abstract types are useful in that they can be used to define and enforce a protocol; a set of operations that all objects implementing the protocol must support. Abstract types are also an essential part of the Template Method Pattern.