Object-Oriented Software Engineering: In-depth Exploration Using Tesla Electric Vehicles as Case Study

In this publication, we discuss object-oriented software engineering. This is an approach that developers use to organize large and complex projects using building blocks or ‘objects’. In the real world, these can be likened to the components of modern electric vehicles.

Mykola (Nick) Hrytsaienko
September 28, 2023

Object-oriented software engineering (OOSE) is a software development methodology based on object-oriented programming (OOP). It is a paradigm that uses the concept of objects, which can contain data in the form of fields or attributes, as well as methods and functions for interacting with them.

OOSE can be used both in frontend development and backend development (we discussed frontend and backend in detail in this trend article). Using OOP makes it convenient to create modular, scalable, and easily maintainable systems, which is often very important for digital transformation of business.

All Tesla electric vehicles have common features highlighted by classes, but also many individual characteristics of each object.

Key concepts of object-oriented programming using Tesla electric vehicles as a case study:

  • Classes. These can be imagined as something like templates, from which specific objects will be created later on. These are all Tesla electric vehicles, for which not only the attributes considered basic (engines, batteries, and other elements) are defined, but also methods for their retrieval (start, move, stop), as well as modification (software update).
  • Objects. Instances of classes that represent real-world entities or concepts. For example, objects of the Tesla Electric Vehicles class may have attributes in the form of colour (graphite, blue, white, red) and model (Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y), as well as methods in the form of starting, accelerating, stopping, and also, if necessary, servicing (software update, autopilot feature purchase).
  • Inheritance. This mechanism defines the process by which a new class is created based on an existing one, inheriting all its attributes and methods. For example, any Tesla model gets similar software (it is not rewritten multiple times to avoid duplicating code), but also a whole range of individual parameters specific to each model (display size in the cabin and seat finish).
  • Polymorphism. The ability of an object to use methods defined in its class as well as in its superclasses. This allows objects of different classes to be treated as objects of the base class, significantly simplifying the code and making it as flexible as possible (the autopilot on all Tesla models works, by and large, the same way).
  • Encapsulation. The hiding of an object's internal data and requiring access to them through the object's methods. This helps control the change in the object's state and protects it from incorrect use. When considering Tesla electric vehicles, this would mean starting each of them only in the way defined by the manufacturer.

Object-oriented software engineering is not always used, but only when necessary. Everything depends on the project — for some, the OOSE methodology will be excessive, while for others, in modern development, it becomes mandatory (read about the nuances of developing our projects in the Case Studies section of the website). For example, when creating the fundamentally new Tesla Cybertruck, it did not require body paint like other Tesla electric vehicles. However, in the case of software code, this class attribute in the object of the new model could simply be overridden.

To determine the necessity of using object-oriented software engineering, it is important to first define the functional and non-functional requirements of the system. After that, it is necessary to analyze the requirements and identify the problems that need to be solved, as well as prepare for the design.

Experienced developers are engaged in software design based on the principles of object-oriented programming. Special UML diagrams (Unified Modeling Language) are often used, which include class diagrams, sequence diagrams, and state diagrams.

After the design, the application based on OOP is developed by writing the software code, checking the functionality and identifying errors, as well as further maintenance, which includes making changes, improvements, and any additions necessary for the new branches of the customer's business.

Thanks to object-oriented software engineering, it is possible to create modular, scalable, and easily maintainable software systems. The use of objects, classes, as well as inheritance principles, helps organize the code and makes it more understandable and reusable. That is why the practice of OOSE definitely deserves attention.

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