23 July 2021

Sometimes your class has some internal business to attend to.

For example, your class may contains a method called save which takes as its argument the filename.

The class exposes (makes available) the save method.

Once the user of your class calls the save method your class still has work to do. It must determine if the file exists. If the file doesn't exist then your class must create it on the disk. Then write the data. Finally, close the connection to the file.

Encapsulation ensures that the user only knows about the save method and not every little detail required to make the save method work.

Public, Private and Protected, oh my!

Getters/setters only allow private member variables to expose their data IF you want them to expose their data. A variable not exposed via a getter or setter is effectively hidden (unless it's declared public which isn't recommended). It may be used only by the class. If you want that variable to be visible only to your class then declare it as private. If you want it to be visible only to the class and any future subclasses then declare it as protected. In any event the user has no idea it exists. It's secret to my class (and possibly subclasses).

A variable can have an access modifier

Public - visible to any class in your program

Private - visible only to your class (not sub classes)

Protected - visible to your class and any subclasses (also visible to any classes in the same package)

You could also have a variable that has only a getter. That would be a read-only variable. or you could have a variable with only a setter. That would be a write-only variable (not common though).

You could also have private variables like counters and things that only you class uses and nobody else uses. Since there would be no getters/setters for those variables they would be private to the class. Unless you declared them as protected. Then they would be visible to the class and subclasses.

Source: Montgomery College Java Bootcamp (canvas)