In the Real World

Although C++ has been around for a few years, most object-oriented languages are relatively new. Java is an object-oriented language that gained a strong following with the rise in popularity of the World Wide Web. Other languages such as VBA, and some web-based languages (e.g., JavaScript, Perl) do not satisfy all the definitions required for the object-oriented label; however, all of these languages use objects extensively and thus serve as a good introduction to object-based programming, if they aren't totally object-oriented.

Program objects, such as ActiveX controls in VBA, allow greater flexibility and power in software development because they can be developed by one group of programmers and used by other groups in virtually any application. It is this ability to re-use program objects and the time savings it creates that make objects so popular among programmers.

The requirements for a language to be designated as object-oriented are really quite strict. One requirement is that object-oriented languages must allow programmers to build new classes (object definitions). Furthermore, the objects created from a new class must support inheritance. Inheritance refers to the ability of one class to inherit from another. This simply means that the new class (also known as the derived class) will have all the members of the inherited class (also known as the parent class). Although VBA allows programmers to define new classes, it does not support inheritance and for this reason (and others not beyond the scope of this text), VBA is not considered object-oriented.

The latest version of Visual Basic (VB .net) and the relatively new development language C# satisfy object-oriented requirements. The popularity of object-oriented languages is likely to continue and the migration of object-based languages to true object-oriented status is also probable (if they survive). However, it appears that for the time being, VBA will remain object-based, and not object-oriented.

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