Lecture 10 | Programming Methodology (Stanford) | Summary and Q&A

July 2, 2008
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Lecture 10 | Programming Methodology (Stanford)

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In this video, the presenter discusses classes and objects in Java programming. They review a class that was previously created, which represents a student. They explain the use of constructors, instance variables, private and public methods, getters and setters, and the toString method. They then introduce the concept of subclasses and superclasses, and demonstrate how to create a subclass called Frosh that extends the Student class. They discuss the use of the super keyword and overriding the toString method. Finally, they introduce the concept of graphics programming using the ACM Graphics package, explaining the use of the GCanvas class and various methods to add and manipulate objects on the canvas.

Questions & Answers

Q: What is the purpose of the constructors in a class?

Constructors in a class are used to initialize the instance variables of the class when objects of that class are created. They provide a way to set values for the variables upon object creation.

Q: What is the difference between private and public methods in a class?

Private methods in a class can only be accessed and called within the class itself. They are used to encapsulate functionality and ensure that certain operations can only be performed from within the class. Public methods, on the other hand, can be accessed and called from outside the class. They allow other classes or objects to interact with the public interface of the class.

Q: Why are getters and setters used for private instance variables?

Getters and setters are used for private instance variables to provide controlled access to the variables. By using these methods, the class can enforce rules and validations before allowing access or modification of the variable. It also allows the class to maintain control over how the value of the variable is obtained or modified.

Q: Can private instance variables be accessed by subclasses of a class?

No, private instance variables are not accessible to subclasses of a class. Private variables can only be accessed within the class that they are declared in. Subclasses can only access public and protected variables of their superclass.

Q: What is the difference between public and private instance variables?

Public instance variables are accessible and can be modified by any class or object. They do not have any access restrictions. Private instance variables, however, can only be accessed and modified within the class in which they are declared. They are intended to be used internally by the class and are not directly accessible from outside.

Q: Why do we use the super keyword in a subclass constructor?

In a subclass constructor, the super keyword is used to invoke the constructor of the superclass. This allows the subclass to inherit and initialize the variables and behavior of the superclass before adding its own specific functionality. It ensures that the superclass constructor is called and executed along with the subclass constructor.

Q: What does it mean to override a method in a subclass?

Overriding a method in a subclass means providing a new implementation of a method that already exists in the superclass. The subclass can provide its own version of the method with the same name and parameters, which will be used instead of the superclass's version when the method is called on objects of the subclass.

Q: What is the purpose of the GCanvas class in graphics programming?

The GCanvas class represents the canvas or background on which graphics objects are drawn in a graphics program. It provides methods for adding, removing, and manipulating graphical objects on the canvas. It serves as the container for all the graphical elements in a graphics program.

Q: How can you make an object invisible on a GCanvas without removing it?

You can make an object invisible on a GCanvas by setting its visibility to false using the setVisible method. This will hide the object but keep it on the canvas. To make it visible again, you can set its visibility to true.

Q: What is the purpose of interfaces in Java?

Interfaces in Java define a set of methods that a class can implement. They provide a way to group together classes that share common behavior, even if they don't have a direct hierarchical relationship. Interfaces allow for polymorphism, where objects of different classes can be treated as instances of a common interface and have their methods called in a uniform way.

Q: How can you scale graphical objects in the ACM Graphics package?

The ACM Graphics package provides a GScalable interface and related methods for scaling graphical objects. The GScalable interface defines methods for setting and getting the scale factor of an object, allowing it to be scaled up or down. Objects that implement the GScalable interface, such as GRect, GOval, and GLine, can be scaled using these methods.


Classes in Java are used to define objects and their behavior, and they can be instantiated to create instances of those objects. Constructors are used to initialize the variables of a class, and private and public methods control access to the class's functionality. Inheritance allows for the creation of subclasses that inherit properties and behavior from a superclass. Graphics programming involves drawing and manipulating graphical objects on a canvas, and the ACM Graphics package provides classes and methods for this purpose. Interfaces define sets of methods that classes can implement, allowing for the grouping of classes with similar behavior. Scaling graphical objects can be achieved using the GScalable interface and related methods.

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