Methods: Communicating with Objects

We communicate with objects using methods. Methods are executable code within each object, for which an interface has been established. Sometimes the interface is only for the object itself. Other times it is an interface accessible by other objects. This chapter discusses that topic in detail.

3.6 Flow of Control: Control Structures

We have been ignoring a couple of problems with the definition of the OneRowNim class. One problem is that we would describe a One Row Nim game as two players taking turns until there are no more sticks. An object using OneRowNim would need a way to repeatedly execute a group of statements. One command in Java that controls the repetition of a block of statements is called a while loop. We will consider it later in this section.

A second problem is with the definition of takeSticks():

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It is possible to call this method with an argument greater than 3 or less than 1. The call game.takeSticks(5) will remove 5 sticks even though the rules of One Row Nim say that you must remove 1, 2, or 3. While one might assume that the user interface should prevent the user from breaking this rule, it is a far better design if it was dealt with in OneRowNim. To do this we need a Java structure that executes different statements depending on whether the parameter is greater than 3, less than 1, or between 1 and 3. The Java if-else statement has this capability. A fuller treatment of control structures appears in Chapter 6, but in this section, we will briefly introduce a couple of simple control structures. This will enable us to write programs that take more interesting actions.