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Definition

variable

In programming, a variable is a value that can change, depending on conditions or on information passed to the program. Typically, a program consists of instruction s that tell the computer what to do and data that the program uses when it is running. The data consists of constants or fixed values that never change and variable values (which are usually initialized to "0" or some default value because the actual values will be supplied by a program's user). Usually, both constants and variables are defined as certain data type s. Each data type prescribes and limits the form of the data. Examples of data types include: an integer expressed as a decimal number, or a string of text characters, usually limited in length.

In object-oriented programming , each object contains the data variables of the class it is an instance of. The object's method s are designed to handle the actual values that are supplied to the object when the object is being used.

This was last updated in September 2005

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