Friday, October 27, 2006

Should I use an abstract class or an interface? at C# Online.NET (CSharp-Online.NET)

Visual C# Best Practices

* Use abstract classes and interfaces in combination to optimize your design trade-offs.

Use an abstract class

* When creating a class library which will be widely distributed or reused—especially to clients, use an abstract class in preference to an interface; because, it simplifies versioning. This is the practice used by the Microsoft team which developed the Base Class Library. (COM was designed around interfaces.)

* Use an abstract class to define a common base class for a family of types.

* Use an abstract class to provide default behavior.

* Subclass only a base class in a hierarchy to which the class logically belongs.

Use an interface

* When creating a standalone project which can be changed at will, use an interface in preference to an abstract class; because, it offers more design flexibility.

* Use interfaces to introduce polymorphic behavior without subclassing and to model multiple inheritance—allowing a specific type to support numerous behaviors.

* Use an interface to design a polymorphic hierarchy for value types.

* Use an interface when an immutable contract is really intended.

* A well-designed interface does only one thing—not a potpourri of functionality.
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