Best Definition: What is an object?

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#1 muricula  Icon User is offline

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Best Definition: What is an object?

Posted 24 December 2011 - 11:15 AM

I, of course, know what an object is. It is a thing you do stuff to, little more than a collection of slots in memory.
Or, for those more metaphysically minded, the object class is computer science's answer to the question "What are the properties of all Xs? What do all Xs have in common?"

However, these either abstruse or simplistic definitions kind of miss the point. I am looking for a good 1 sentence definition that I can tell people who aren't as familiar with programming.

Any ideas?

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#2 Martyr2  Icon User is offline

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Re: Best Definition: What is an object?

Posted 24 December 2011 - 11:22 AM

You couldn't just do a google search?

http://en.wikipedia....mputer_science)

Read the first line. :)
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#3 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: Best Definition: What is an object?

Posted 24 December 2011 - 11:28 AM

Frankly, I wouldn't consider any of your definitions for what an object is to be very good.

"It is the thing you do stuff to" - Sounds dirty to me <wink>

An object is the instance of a class.
A class is a block of code that contains methods, fields, properties, enums, structs and other data types that combine to make the abstract template for the creation of said object.

class DodgeRam
{
   // Until it is instantiated its just a hypothetical.  A template or blueprint for building
}

object myDodgeRam = new DodgeRam; // But myDodgeRam is an instance.. It is a hard object than I can work with

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#4 muricula  Icon User is offline

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Re: Best Definition: What is an object?

Posted 24 December 2011 - 11:28 AM

I don't know, the first line I read was "this article needs to be rewritten to comply with Wikipedia's standards." I think that the definition there would be kind of confusing for a beginner.
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#5 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: Best Definition: What is an object?

Posted 24 December 2011 - 11:29 AM

View PostMartyr2, on 24 December 2011 - 12:22 PM, said:

You couldn't just do a google search?

http://en.wikipedia....mputer_science)

Read the first line. :)


I think you're asking too much of today's students.
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#6 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: Best Definition: What is an object?

Posted 24 December 2011 - 11:39 AM

View Postmuricula, on 24 December 2011 - 12:28 PM, said:

I don't know, the first line I read was "this article needs to be rewritten to comply with Wikipedia's standards." I think that the definition there would be kind of confusing for a beginner.


Maybe its just me but...
I would leave being a sarcastic smart ass to the people who are providing help. It doesn't work as well for you rookies asking others for the answers to their homework.
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#7 muricula  Icon User is offline

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Re: Best Definition: What is an object?

Posted 24 December 2011 - 11:49 AM

First, this isn't my homework. I do know what an object is, but my definitions are, as you observed, not very good.
Second, being talked down to consistently is not a good way to keep users around, if you care.
Previously I have asked some pretty complex questions, and I have not received the help I have wanted here. I was hoping that some professionals could help me, but I guess not.
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#8 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: Best Definition: What is an object?

Posted 24 December 2011 - 12:01 PM

Please don't consider being spoken to frankly and honestly as being spoken down to. Treating you as an adult, talking to you like a grown up may not always consist of blowing rainbows up your skirt, but it is honest. In many ways its being spoken up to. After a while it becomes hard to find new ways to tell people

Quote

"I'm not your damned google-bot/research assistant. Here let me show you how little effort it would have taken you to do your own search engine query."
But I thought Martyr2 did a decent job of it in his response. Instead of thanking the man for doing your googleing for you, or asking a legitimate question about the definition he pointed you to, you decided to be a dick. So guess what, the responses that followed were in theme with your own. That's not talking down to you: That talking to you on the level you adopted.

I don't know why you say you aren't getting resonses to our questions. Looking at all your topics only 1 of them has zero responses. All the rest have between 1 and 9 responses. Could you be more specific about a thread that you didn't receive the help you wanted?
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#9 cilaes  Icon User is offline

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Re: Best Definition: What is an object?

Posted 24 December 2011 - 09:10 PM

Looks like maybe he's looking for more of a discussion rather than a textbook definition. It does seem like that many of the good volunteer folks around here have the perception that everyone's looking to get homework done for them... I don't think that's the case as much as it seems to be believed around here.
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#10 muricula  Icon User is offline

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Re: Best Definition: What is an object?

Posted 24 December 2011 - 09:25 PM

Thank you cilaes, you have clarified my topic. If nobody wants to bother, that's fine.
Also tlhIn`toq, I think that your definition is good and accurate, but a little technical. It might take some explaining to an absolute beginner what a class and its instance is (which may be necessary to define an object). So I was hoping that I could get a simple definition which did not include a bunch of technical terms, which I lumped together as "stuff."
One thing I want to learn while learning programming is how to teach programming. It is one thing to learn a subject, and another to teach it.
Sorry if I came across poorly, the internet is notorious for that. These are the pitfalls of text based communication.
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#11 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: Best Definition: What is an object?

Posted 24 December 2011 - 09:29 PM

One someone says "I'm looking for a one sentence explanation", I think it precludes the idea they are looking for a discussion. But that's just my interpretation.

cilaes, Lead by example: if you feel he's looking for a discussion then have one with him on the subject rather than just posting a paragraph on how the experienced people here are wrong. Show us how its done.
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#12 cilaes  Icon User is offline

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Re: Best Definition: What is an object?

Posted 24 December 2011 - 09:34 PM

Although it seems you have a great reason for simplifying this, it's probably best to teach the technical terms etc before hand. It's always a more solid foundation, which is why the volunteers here are the way they are. If you teach it as "a class is the yolk inside the egg inside the shell" it'll make everything look like an elementary subject. My opinion, and sorry for grammar mistakes. First time on iPad (love Christmas)
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#13 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: Best Definition: What is an object?

Posted 24 December 2011 - 09:44 PM

View Postmuricula, on 24 December 2011 - 10:25 PM, said:

Thank you cilaes, you have clarified my topic. If nobody wants to bother, that's fine.
Also tlhIn`toq, I think that your definition is good and accurate, but a little technical. It might take some explaining to an absolute beginner what a class and its instance is (which may be necessary to define an object). So I was hoping that I could get a simple definition which did not include a bunch of technical terms, which I lumped together as "stuff."


I think you're being a little optimistic about trying to find a dumbed-down single sentence to explain a complex subject.
Its like trying to find a single "laymen friendly" sentence to describe the receiving transponder of a satellite dish, to someone that doesn't understand radio or TV or transmissions or electronic communications. There is no point of common reference to build upon.

Technical subjects have this tendency to require explanations and not single sentence 'tag lines' like a breakfast cereal.

I don't think you could find an adequate single sentence, non-technical description for a fuel injector that you could say to someone who knew nothing about the mechanics of an internal combustion engine that would actually convey its purpose or operation.

The basis of communication is having a common starting point in both language and contextual background reference. I couldn't have a meaningful conversation with some gang-banger from the hood because I don't speak his urban dialect of English and don't have his background. The same problem exists in what you describe you're trying to do. You're not going to find a sentence in vanilla English that you can say to a non-nerd. The nature of this industry is that we speak in a geek dialect of English with a background of experience that is as much in a computer as in the world.

View Postcilaes, on 24 December 2011 - 10:34 PM, said:

First time on iPad (love Christmas)


I love my iPad. I must have 100 text/reference books on it. VNC client. Monopoly. And tons more.
The more you have one, the more you find you can do with it.
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#14 macosxnerd101  Icon User is offline

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Re: Best Definition: What is an object?

Posted 24 December 2011 - 10:08 PM

Quote

Also tlhIn`toq, I think that your definition is good and accurate, but a little technical. It might take some explaining to an absolute beginner what a class and its instance is (which may be necessary to define an object). So I was hoping that I could get a simple definition which did not include a bunch of technical terms, which I lumped together as "stuff."

View Postcilaes, on 24 December 2011 - 11:34 PM, said:

Although it seems you have a great reason for simplifying this, it's probably best to teach the technical terms etc before hand. It's always a more solid foundation, which is why the volunteers here are the way they are. If you teach it as "a class is the yolk inside the egg inside the shell" it'll make everything look like an elementary subject. My opinion, and sorry for grammar mistakes. First time on iPad (love Christmas)

I want to second the point cilaes made. When I've taught programming, I try and get people to a point where they are comfortable with the technical terms. When I introduce Java, I start early on by saying that there are two types of data- primitives and objects. If it's not a primitive, it's an object. As I continue, I introduce Strings, arrays, conditionals, and loops. Strings require the equals() method over the == operator for equality testing, so I go into the reasoning for this. That expands on what an Object is. Then when I begin to hit OOP topics, the people I teach get a better understanding of Objects. The scope of an Object in a specific language isn't something that can be summed up in one sentence easily, with any useful information being conveyed.

If your interest is teaching, my thread Getting Better at Programming Java might be of some help. Even if you are looking at teaching another language, hopefully my thread can help you better formulate a curriculum.
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#15 cilaes  Icon User is offline

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Re: Best Definition: What is an object?

Posted 24 December 2011 - 10:19 PM

Thanks. The crazy thing that I'm starting to realize is that there are so many ordinary elementary terms used in programming that mean something totally different and are actually very confusing to grasp. I learned PHP at a very young age as a hobby and ended up getting into every aspect of web development and making a living in it, for over 8 years now. I'm in a position where if I had the knowledge in c# that I have in PHP that I would be very well off, but I'm actually finding it as a whole new world, even with a foundation of logical programming background as 4 years worth of I level electronic technician experience. I can't imagine how someone totally new feels, and i can't help but be ashamed of every time I thought of someone as just lain stupid for not grasping a subject.
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