What Is Template in Object Oriented Programming?


Larry Thompson

In object-oriented programming, a template refers to a blueprint or a generic class that defines the structure and behavior of objects. It serves as a basis for creating specific instances of classes, which are known as objects. Templates provide a way to define reusable code and encapsulate common functionality.

Defining Templates

Templates are typically defined using class templates in languages like C++ or generic classes in languages like Java and C#. These templates allow you to define types that can be used with different data types or classes.


template <class T>
class List {
    // Implementation details

The above code defines a template class called List that can be used with any data type, indicated by the T. This allows you to create lists of integers, strings, or any other type.

Template Parameters

A template can have one or more parameters that determine the specific behavior of the template when instantiated. These parameters can be types, values, or other templates. They serve as placeholders for actual types or values that will be provided when creating objects based on the template.


template <class T, int Size>
class Array {
    T data[Size];
    // Implementation details

In this example, the Array template has two parameters: T, which represents the type of elements in the array, and Size, which determines the size of the array at compile time.

Using Templates

To use a template, you need to instantiate it by providing the necessary type or value arguments. This creates a concrete class based on the template.


List<int> numbers;
Array<float, 10> floatArray;

In the above code, List<int> creates an instance of the List template with int as the type argument, while Array<float, 10> creates an instance of the Array template with float as the type argument and 10 as the size argument.

Benefits of Templates

Templates offer several benefits in object-oriented programming:

  • Code Reusability: Templates allow you to write generic code that can be reused with different types or values.
  • Type Safety: Templates enable compile-time type checking, ensuring that incorrect types are not used when instantiating templates.
  • Efficiency: Templates generate optimized code for each instantiation, resulting in efficient execution.
  • Maintainability: By using templates, you can encapsulate common functionality in a single place, making code maintenance easier.

Closing Thoughts

Templates are a powerful feature in object-oriented programming that enable code reusability and flexibility. They allow you to create generic classes or functions that can be used with different types or values. By leveraging templates effectively, you can write more efficient and maintainable code.

I hope this article has provided you with a clear understanding of what templates are in object-oriented programming. Use them wisely to enhance your code’s structure and reusability!

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