Abstraction in Java - Interfaces and Abstract Classes

In plain English, abstract means a concept or idea not associated with any specific instance and does not have a concrete existence. Abstraction in Object Oriented Programming refers to the ability to make a class abstract. Abstraction captures only those details about an object that are relevant to the current perspective, so that the programmer can focus on a few concepts at a time.

Java provides interfaces and abstract classes for describing abstract types.

  • An interface is a contract or specification without any implementation. An interface can't have behavior or state.

  • An abstract class is a class that cannot be instantiated, but has all the properties of a class including constructors. Abstract classes can have state and can be used to provide a skeletal implementation. 

Constructor of an abstract class is invoked by a subclass from its constructor using super keyword (e.g. super()).


Defining an interface

An interface can be defined using the interface keyword.

interface MyInterface{

// public static and final fields
// public and abstract methods



Properties of an Interface

  1. An interface is a contract and they don't have state, behavior or constructors.

  2. Interfaces can have only public and abstract methods.

    • The public and abstract keywords are implicit for interface methods, but can also be declared explicitly.

  3. Interfaces can have static constant fields (public, static and final).

    • Fields of an interface are implicitly public, static and final; though they can be explicitly defined with these modifiers. 

  4. An interface can have another class as a member

    • An inner class of an interface can be marked with public, static, final and abstract; but not final and abstract together.

  5. An interface can have another interface as a member

    • An inner innerface of an interface can be marked with public, static, and abstract.

  6. First concrete subclass should implement all abstract methods.

    • An abstract subclass may or may not implement any methods of an interface

  7. A class can implement an interface using the keyword implements.

    • class A implements I {}

  8. An interface can extend another interface using extends keyword.

    • interface I1 extends I2 {}

  9. An inteface may be marked as abstract explicitely

    1. E.g. abstract interface Inter1{}

  10. Top level interface can be only public or package-private (default)


Defining an abstract class

We can define an abstract class using the abstract keyword. 

An abstract class is a class marked as abstract and they cannot be instantiated.

class abstract MyAbstractClass{

  abstract void myAbstractMethod();

  void myConcreteMethod(){

    //method body



An abstract method is a method with only signature and no body, whereas a concrete method is a method with body. 

The abstract methods are defined using the abstract keyword and omitting the body and ending the statement with a semicolon.


Properties of Abstract Class

  1. Abstract classes cannot be instantiated using the new keyword. 

  2. Abstract classes can have state and can be used to provide a skeletal implementation. 

  3. Abstract classes have all the features of a class, including constructors (except that abstract classes cannot be instantiated using the new keyword).

    • Constructor of an abstract class is invoked by the subclass constructor using super keyword (e.g. super()).

    • Abstract classes can use this pointer.

    • Abstract classes can have private or any access level methods.

    • Abstract classes can also have synchronized methods.

  4. Abstract classes can have abstract and/or concrete methods in any combination.

    • Abstract class can have only concrete methods and no abstract methods.

  5. A concrete class should extend an abstract class (using keyword extends) and implement all abstract methods.


A detailed comparison of interfaces and abstract classes can be found at interface-vs-abstract-class.


if we create Abstract Class we should use inheritence ,

for both Abstract Class and interface we can't create object..

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