Interface vs Abstract Class (general OO)

How about an analogy: when I was in the Air Force, I went to pilot training and became a USAF (US Air Force) pilot. At that point I wasn’t qualified to fly anything, and had to attend aircraft type training. Once I qualified, I was a pilot (Abstract class) and a C-141 pilot (concrete class). At one of my assignments, I was given an additional duty: Safety Officer. Now I was still a pilot and a C-141 pilot, but I also performed Safety Officer duties (I implemented ISafetyOfficer, so to speak). A pilot wasn’t required to be a safety officer, other people could have done it as well.

All USAF pilots have to follow certain Air Force-wide regulations, and all C-141 (or F-16, or T-38) pilots ‘are’ USAF pilots. Anyone can be a safety officer. So, to summarize:

  • Pilot: abstract class
  • C-141 Pilot: concrete class
  • ISafety Officer: interface

added note: this was meant to be an analogy to help explain the concept, not a coding recommendation. See the various comments below, the discussion is interesting.

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