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Introduction

This tutorial aims to teach the basics of Object Oriented Programming. It's designed for students who have some knowledge of procedural programming. It is not tailored to any one specific language, although examples in C++ and Java will be given. To compare OOP with procedural languages, examples using Modula-2 will also be used - Modula-2 is from the Pascal family of languages so hopefully should be familiar to most students.

Probably the most important thing I would like you to take away from this tutorial is the idea that programming in an object oriented language is more than just learning new functions, syntax, etc. OOP is more than learning a new language; it requires a new way of thinking. The idea is to not primarily concentrate on the cornerstones of procedural languages - data structures and algorithms - but instead think in terms of objects.

The best way to learn any language is to practice - Learning a new way of programming is no different. There are a number of OOP based languages out there, but for beginners I would recommend starting with either Java or C# (pronounced C-Sharp). You can start playing with these languages straight away - free compilers and development environments are available. The tutorial has some examples in C++, however I don't recommend starting to learn OOP in C++.

Java is a platform-independent language developed by Sun Microsystems. You can pick up the Java SDK and begin developing straight away. If you want to have a complete development environment, you can download the free JBuilder Foundation from Borland

C# is a relatively new language developed by Microsoft. C# is one language that forms part of Microsoft's .NET platform. You can download the .NET SDK which contains a C# compiler. If you want to develop in C# seriously, you'll need to get hold of Microsoft Visual Studio - Academic editions are available.

Next: Objects.


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