Home

Interfaces

  

Introduction

We described abstract classes as those intended for inheritance. Another type of class designed for this purpose is referred to as an interface. An interface is a class that creates a foundation that new derived classes can use. As done for an abstract class, you can create original behavior that the deriving classes would use.

Unlike abstract classes, you don't implement the members (properties and procedures) of the interface. The general idea of an interface is only to lay a foundation, as creating a structural base, that the new classes would follow, although they can customize the behavior(s) of the parent interface but the parent interface does not "decide" what the behavior of a member would be.

Interface Creation

To create an interface, you start with the Interface keyword followed by the name of the interface. You end the interface definition with an End Interface line. By tradition or good habit, the name of an interface starts with I. Here is an example of a starting interface:

File: RegularTriangle.vb
Public Interface ITriangle

End Interface

After creating an interface, you can derive a class from it. When deriving from an interface, instead of the Inherits keyword, you use Implements followed by the name of the interface. Here is an example of a new class named Regular and that is based on the above ITriangle interface:

File: RegularTriangle.vb
Public Interface ITriangle

End Interface

Public Class RegularTriangle
    Implements ITriangle

End Class

As with other classes, once you have derived the class, you can create objects from it and instantiate it using the New operator. Here is an example:

File: Exercise.vb
Module Exercise

    Public Function Main() As Integer
        Dim reg As RegularTriangle
        reg = New RegularTriangle

        Return 0
    End Function

End Module

As mentioned earlier, the purpose of having an interface is to create a skeleton that derived classes would follow. To do this, in the body of the interface, you can create the necessary members that you want to make available to new classes. The members can be the same types of methods or properties as those we have used in classes so far. Here are examples:

File: RegularTriangle.vb
Public Interface ITriangle
    ReadOnly Property Name() As String
    Property Base() As Double
    Property Height() As Double

    Function CalculatePerimeter() As Double
    Function CalculateArea() As Double
End Interface

The primary rule you must observe when deriving a class from an interface is that you must implement each member of the interface in the derived class. If you omit implementing a member of the parent interface, you would receive an error. When implementing a member of the interface, it must be followed by the Implements keyword, the name of the interface, the period operator, and the name of the member that it is implementing. Based on this, our Regular class can implement the ITriangle interface as follows:

File: RegularTriangle.vb
Public Interface ITriangle
    ReadOnly Property Name() As String
    Property Base() As Double
    Property Height() As Double

    Function CalculatePerimeter() As Double
    Function CalculateArea() As Double
End Interface

Public Class RegularTriangle
    Implements ITriangle

    Public bas As Double
    Public hgt As Double
    Public sd1 As Double
    Public sd2 As Double

    ' Default constructor: the user will specify the dimensions
    Public Sub New()
        bas = 0
        hgt = 0
        sd1 = 0
        sd2 = 0
    End Sub

    ' A triangle based on known base and height
    Public Sub New(ByVal b As Double, ByVal h As Double)
        bas = b
        hgt = h
    End Sub

    ' A triangle based on the measurements of the sides
    Public Sub New(ByVal b As Double, ByVal side1 As Double, ByVal side2 As Double)
        bas = b
        sd1 = side1
        sd2 = side2
    End Sub

    ' A triangle whose all sides and the height are known
    Public Sub New(ByVal b As Double, ByVal h As Double, _
                   ByVal side1 As Double, ByVal side2 As Double)
        bas = b
        hgt = h
        sd1 = side1
        sd2 = side2
    End Sub

    Public Property Base() As Double Implements ITriangle.Base
        Get
            Return bas
        End Get
        Set(ByVal Value As Double)
            If bas < 0 Then
                bas = 0
            Else
                bas = Value
            End If
        End Set
    End Property

    Public Function CalculateArea() As Double Implements ITriangle.CalculateArea
        Return bas * hgt / 2
    End Function

    Public Function CalculatePerimeter() As Double Implements _
   ITriangle.CalculatePerimeter
        Return bas + sd1 + sd2
    End Function

    Public Property Height() As Double Implements ITriangle.Height
        Get
            Return hgt
        End Get
        Set(ByVal Value As Double)
            If hgt < 0 Then
                hgt = 0
            Else
                hgt = Value
            End If
        End Set
    End Property

    Public ReadOnly Property Name() As String Implements ITriangle.Name
        Get
            Return "Regular Triangle"
        End Get
    End Property

End Class

Once the class has been defined like this, you can then instantiate and use it. Here is an example:

File: Exercise.vb
Module Exercise

    Public Function Main() As Integer
        Dim reg As RegularTriangle = New RegularTriangle(35.28, 26.44)

        Response.Write("Triangle Type: " & reg.Name)
        Response.Write("=-= Characteristics =-=")
        Response.Write("Base:   " & reg.Base)
        Response.Write("Height: " & reg.Height)
        Response.Write("Area:   " & reg.CalculateArea)

        Return 0
    End Function

End Module

This would produce:

Triangle Type: Regular Triangle
=-= Characteristics =-=
Base:   35.28
Height: 26.44
Area:   466.4016

In the same way, you can derive other classes from an interface. For example, from our ITriangle class, you can derive an isosceles, a right, or an equilateral triangle. Always remember that when you derive a class, you must implement all of the members of the interface. You can also add new members as you see fit. 

 

 

 

An Interface Derived

Like a regular class, an interface can be derived from another interface but an interface cannot derive from a class. To create an interface based on another, use the Inherits keyword as we have used in other classes. Here is an example:

File: RegularTriangle.vb
Public Interface IGeometricShape

End Interface

Public Interface ITriangle
    Inherits IGeometricShape

End Interface

As mentioned for the interfaces, you can use the parent interface to list the members that the deriving classes would implement. Still remember that since an interface cannot implement a member, the member of the parent interface cannot be defined in a derived interface. This implement would wait for the actual class(es) that would be based on the child (or even the parent) interface. Here is an example:

File: RegularTriangle.vb
Public Interface IGeometricShape
    ReadOnly Property Type() As String
End Interface

Public Interface ITriangle
    Inherits IGeometricShape

    ReadOnly Property Name() As String
    Property Base() As Double
    Property Height() As Double

    Function CalculatePerimeter() As Double
    Function CalculateArea() As Double
End Interface

After deriving a class from an interface, when defining the class, you must implement the member of the immediate interface and those of the ancestor interface(s). Here is an example:

File: RegularTriangle.vb
Public Interface IGeometricShape
    ReadOnly Property Type() As String
End Interface

Public Interface ITriangle
    Inherits IGeometricShape

    ReadOnly Property Name() As String
    Property Base() As Double
    Property Height() As Double

    Function CalculatePerimeter() As Double
    Function CalculateArea() As Double
End Interface

Public Class RegularTriangle
    Implements ITriangle

    Public bas As Double
    Public hgt As Double
    Public sd1 As Double
    Public sd2 As Double

    Public ReadOnly Property Type() As String Implements ITriangle.type
        Get
            Return "Triangle"
        End Get
    End Property

    ' Default constructor: the user will specify the dimensions
    Public Sub New()
        bas = 0
        hgt = 0
        sd1 = 0
        sd2 = 0
    End Sub

    ' A triangle based on known base and height
    Public Sub New(ByVal b As Double, ByVal h As Double)
        bas = b
        hgt = h
    End Sub

    ' A triangle based on the measurements of the sides
    Public Sub New(ByVal b As Double, ByVal side1 As Double, ByVal side2 As Double)
        bas = b
        sd1 = side1
        sd2 = side2
    End Sub

    ' A triangle whose all sides and the height are known
    Public Sub New(ByVal b As Double, ByVal h As Double, _
                   ByVal side1 As Double, ByVal side2 As Double)
        bas = b
        hgt = h
        sd1 = side1
        sd2 = side2
    End Sub

    Public Property Base() As Double Implements ITriangle.Base
        Get
            Return bas
        End Get
        Set(ByVal Value As Double)
            If bas < 0 Then
                bas = 0
            Else
                bas = Value
            End If
        End Set
    End Property

    Public Function CalculateArea() As Double Implements ITriangle.CalculateArea
        Return bas * hgt / 2
    End Function

    Public Function CalculatePerimeter() As Double Implements _
   ITriangle.CalculatePerimeter
        Return bas + sd1 + sd2
    End Function

    Public Property Height() As Double Implements ITriangle.Height
        Get
            Return hgt
        End Get
        Set(ByVal Value As Double)
            If hgt < 0 Then
                hgt = 0
            Else
                hgt = Value
            End If
        End Set
    End Property

    Public ReadOnly Property Name() As String Implements ITriangle.Name
        Get
            Return "Regular"
        End Get
    End Property
End Class

Here is an example of testing the class:

File: Exercise.vb
Module Exercise

    Public Function Main() As Integer
        Dim reg As RegularTriangle = New RegularTriangle(35.28, 26.44)

        Response.Write("Shape Type:    " & reg.Type)
        Response.Write("Triangle Type: " & reg.Name)
        Response.Write("=-= Characteristics =-=")
        Response.Write("Base:   " & reg.Base)
        Response.Write("Height: " & reg.Height)
        Response.Write("Area:   " & reg.CalculateArea)

        Return 0
    End Function

End Module

This would produce:

Shape Type:    Triangle
Triangle Type: Regular
=-= Characteristics =-=
Base:   35.28
Height: 26.44
Area:   466.4016

Multiple Inheritance

Multiple inheritance consists of creating a class that is based on more than one parent. In the Microsoft Visual Basic language (in fact in the .NET Framework), you cannot derive a class from more than one class. This functionality is available only with interfaces.

To create a class based on more than one interface, after the Implements keyword, enter the name of each interface and separate them with commas. Here is an example:

Public Interface IGeometricShape
    ReadOnly Property Type() As String
End Interface

Public Interface ICalculation

End Interface

Public Interface ITriangle
    Inherits IGeometricShape, ICalculation

End Interface

The same rules apply for multiple inheritance: you must implements all members of each parent interface.

Besides deriving from an interface, you can also create a class that is based on a class and one or more interfaces. To do this, under the line that specifies the name of the class, use the Inherits keyword to specify the name of the parent, press Enter, and use the Implements keyword to specify the name of the class that serves as the parent interface. Here is an example:

Public Interface IGeometricShape
    ReadOnly Property Type() As String
End Interface

Public Interface ICalculation

End Interface

Public Class Geometry

End Class

Public Interface ITriangle
    Inherits IGeometricShape, ICalculation

End Interface

Public Class RegularTriangle
    Inherits Geometry
    Implements ITriangle

End Class

In the same way, you can create a class that is based on more than one interface but it can be based on only one class. 

 
 
   
 

Home Copyright 2009 FunctionX, Inc.