Is Python an Object Oriented Language?

There’s always been a debate among programmers as to whether or not Python is an Object-oriented Programming language. Today, we seek to find a reasonable answer to put an end to this debate.

However, before we pass a final verdict on the kind of programming language that Python is, you must first understand what an OOP language is.

What is object-oriented programming (OOP)?

Object-oriented programming (OOP) refers to the programming language in which the coders/developers explicitly define the data types, data structures, and also the types of functions that can be applied to the data structures. Thus, the data structures become “objects” incorporating both data and functions. In the OOP language, programs are organized and constructed around objects and not around logic and functions. This is contrary to the historical programming approach that focuses on how the logic is written rather than defining the data within the logic.

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An object is a self-contained entity that comprises both data and the procedures required to manipulate the data. In simple words, it denotes a data field with unique attributes and behaviour. Thus, the OOP model operates by interacting and invoking the properties of the various objects among themselves.

Here are the basic principles/features of object-oriented programming:
Class

A Class is a blueprint or outline of the object that defines the attributes and methods that hold the real functionality of the data. These attributes and methods are referred to as “members.” You can access the members according to the defined access modifiers while declaring the members.

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Inheritance

Inheritance refers to the relationships and subclasses between different objects that allow programmers to use and reuse a common logic, while simultaneously sustaining a unique hierarchy. In this process, the data is cleaned, transformed, and visualized by minimizing the redundancy of the code to allow for a more thorough and accurate data analysis.

Encapsulation

Encapsulation refers to the process of juxtaposing different elements to build a unique entity. In this process, the implementation and state of each object are privately retained inside a defined class, so that other objects cannot make changes to the class – they can only declare a list of public functions. Encapsulation or data hiding enhances code security and also prevents data corruption.

Abstraction

Abstraction is defined as the process of hiding the implementation of the functionalities and expose only those interfaces or accessing methods required to trigger the methods of the implementation class. In other words, the objects only give away those functionalities that are relevant for the use of other objects.

Polymorphism

As the name suggests, polymorphism refers to the process in which objects can take on more than one form depending on the demand of the circumstances. It determines the usage or meaning necessary for each execution of that object, thereby eliminating the need for duplicating the code. The two methods of polymorphism are – method overloading and method overriding.

Now, that we’ve covered the basics of OOP, we can move on to the question –

Is Python Object Oriented?

Honestly, we cannot classify Python as strictly an object-oriented programming language. It is an intuitive, high-level, multi-paradigm programming language (supports multiple programming approaches) it that combines the features of both object-oriented programming and aspect-oriented programming. While it borrows heavily from the OOP language, it is also at the same time functional, procedural, imperative, and reflective. That’s because it is heavily influenced by a combination of many other programming languages including JavaScript, CoffeeScript, Ruby, Swift, Groovy, and Go.

Java, Objective C, C++, Ruby, Smalltalk, Visual Basic.NET, Simula, and JavaScript, are the few examples of OOP languages. And just like any other OOP language, Python too uses the fundamentals of OOP. For instance, in Python, Class means the same as it is for other OOP languages. Then, Python also retains the inheritance mechanism of OOP. To top that, Python can be integrated with other OOP languages like Java for developing applications in both languages that will incorporate the functionalities of both and you can call both the languages within each other to execute the application successfully.

However, Python isn’t an OOP language through-and-through since it does not allow strong encapsulation. This is because its creator Guido van Rossum aimed to keep things simple and that meant not hiding data in the strictest sense of the term. Instead of encapsulation, in Python, there’s a convention for data hiding wherein you can prefix the data members with two underscores. Apart from this, Python supports all the basic features of OOP language.

So, there – mystery solved!

We hope this article helped you understand the fundamentals of OOP language and where Python really stands in this respect. Also, another thing that you hopefully learnt from this piece is that a programming language can be so much more than one ‘single’ definition!

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