Java Software Solutions - Chapter 8: Inheritance

Inheritance is a fundamental object-oriented design technique used to create and organize reusable classes

Chapter 9 focuses on:

deriving new classes from existing classes

the protected modifier

creating class hierarchies

abstract classes

indirect visibility of inherited members

Overloading

 

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Chapter 9Inheritance Java Software Solutions Foundations of Program Design Seventh Edition John Lewis William Loftus Inheritance Inheritance is a fundamental object-oriented design technique used to create and organize reusable classes Chapter 9 focuses on: deriving new classes from existing classes the protected modifier creating class hierarchies abstract classes indirect visibility of inherited members Overloading 8-2 Outline 8-3 Creating Subclasses Overriding Methods Class Hierarchies Inheritance and Visibility Designing for Inheritance Inheritance Inheritance allows a software developer to derive a new class from an existing one The existing class is called the parent class, or superclass, or base class The derived class is called the child class or subclass As the name implies, the child inherits characteristics of the parent That is, the child class inherits the methods and data defined by the parent class 8-4 Inheritance Inheritance relationships are shown in a UML class diagram using a solid arrow with an unfilled triangular arrowhead pointing to the parent class 8-5 Vehicle Car Proper inheritance creates an is-a relationship, meaning the child is a more specific version of the parent Inheritance A programmer can tailor a derived class as needed by adding new variables or methods, or by modifying the inherited ones Software reuse is a fundamental benefit of inheritance By using existing software components to create new ones, we capitalize on all the effort that went into the design, implementation, and testing of the existing software 8-6 Deriving Subclasses In Java, we use the reserved word extends to establish an inheritance relationship 8-7 See Words.java (page 382) See Book.java (page 385) See Dictionary.java (page 386) class Car extends Vehicle { // class contents } The protected Modifier Visibility modifiers affect the way that class members can be used in a child class Variables and methods declared with private visibility cannot be referenced by name in a child class They can be referenced in the child class if they are declared with public visibility -- but public variables violate the principle of encapsulation There is a third visibility modifier that helps in inheritance situations: protected 8-8 The protected Modifier The protected modifier allows a child class to reference a variable or method directly in the child class It provides more encapsulation than public visibility, but is not as tightly encapsulated as private visibility A protected variable is visible to any class in the same package as the parent class The details of all Java modifiers are discussed in Appendix E Protected variables and methods can be shown with a # symbol preceding them in UML diagrams 8-9 Class Diagram for Words(p 386) 8-10 Book # pages : int + pageMessage() : void Dictionary - definitions : int + definitionMessage() : void Words + main (args : String[]) : void The super Reference Constructors are not inherited, even though they have public visibility Yet we often want to use the parent's constructor to set up the "parent's part" of the object The super reference can be used to refer to the parent class, and often is used to invoke the parent's constructor See Words2.java (page 445) See Book2.java (page 446) See Dictionary2.java (page 447) 8-11 The super Reference A child’s constructor is responsible for calling the parent’s constructor The first line of a child’s constructor should use the super reference to call the parent’s constructor The super reference can also be used to reference other variables and methods defined in the parent’s class 8-12 Multiple Inheritance Java supports single inheritance, meaning that a derived class can have only one parent class Multiple inheritance allows a class to be derived from two or more classes, inheriting the members of all parents Collisions, such as the same variable name in two parents, have to be resolved Java does not support multiple inheritance In most cases, the use of interfaces gives us aspects of multiple inheritance without the overhead 8-13 Outline 8-14 Creating Subclasses Overriding Methods Class Hierarchies Inheritance and Visibility Designing for Inheritance Overriding Methods A child class can override the definition of an inherited method in favor of its own The new method must have the same signature as the parent's method, but can have a different body The type of the object executing the method determines which version of the method is invoked See Messages.java (page 450) See Thought.java (page 451) See Advice.java (page 452) 8-15 Overriding A method in the parent class can be invoked explicitly using the super reference If a method is declared with the final modifier, it cannot be overridden The concept of overriding can be applied to data and is called shadowing variables Shadowing variables should be avoided because it tends to cause unnecessarily confusing code 8-16 Overloading vs. Overriding Overloading deals with multiple methods with the same name in the same class, but with different signatures Overriding deals with two methods, one in a parent class and one in a child class, that have the same signature Overloading lets you define a similar operation in different ways for different parameters Overriding lets you define a similar operation in different ways for different object types 8-17 Outline 8-18 Creating Subclasses Overriding Methods Class Hierarchies Inheritance and Visibility Designing for Inheritance Inheritance and GUIs The Timer Class Class Hierarchies A child class of one parent can be the parent of another child, forming a class hierarchy 8-19 Business KMart Macys ServiceBusiness Kinkos RetailBusiness Class Hierarchies Two children of the same parent are called siblings Common features should be put as high in the hierarchy as is reasonable An inherited member is passed continually down the line Therefore, a child class inherits from all its ancestor classes There is no single class hierarchy that is appropriate for all situations 8-20 The Object Class A class called Object is defined in the java.lang package of the Java standard class library All classes are derived from the Object class If a class is not explicitly defined to be the child of an existing class, it is assumed to be the child of the Object class Therefore, the Object class is the ultimate root of all class hierarchies 8-21 The Object Class The Object class contains a few useful methods, which are inherited by all classes For example, the toString method is defined in the Object class Every time we define the toString method, we are actually overriding an inherited definition The toString method in the Object class is defined to return a string that contains the name of the object’s class along with some other information 8-22 The Object Class The equals method of the Object class returns true if two references are aliases We can override equals in any class to define equality in some more appropriate way As we've seen, the String class defines the equals method to return true if two String objects contain the same characters The designers of the String class have overridden the equals method inherited from Object in favor of a more useful version 8-23 Abstract Classes(page 401) An abstract class is a placeholder in a class hierarchy that represents a generic concept An abstract class cannot be instantiated We use the modifier abstract on the class header to declare a class as abstract: 8-24 public abstract class Product { // contents } Abstract Classes An abstract class often contains abstract methods with no definitions (like an interface) Unlike an interface, the abstract modifier must be applied to each abstract method Also, an abstract class typically contains non-abstract methods with full definitions A class declared as abstract does not have to contain abstract methods -- simply declaring it as abstract makes it so 8-25 Abstract Classes The child of an abstract class must override the abstract methods of the parent, or it too will be considered abstract An abstract method cannot be defined as final or static The use of abstract classes is an important element of software design – it allows us to establish common elements in a hierarchy that are too generic to instantiate 8-26 Interface Hierarchies Inheritance can be applied to interfaces as well as classes That is, one interface can be derived from another interface The child interface inherits all abstract methods of the parent A class implementing the child interface must define all methods from both the ancestor and child interfaces Note that class hierarchies and interface hierarchies are distinct (they do not overlap) 8-27 Outline 8-28 Creating Subclasses Overriding Methods Class Hierarchies Inheritance and Visibility Designing for Inheritance Visibility Revisited It's important to understand one subtle issue related to inheritance and visibility All variables and methods of a parent class, even private members, are inherited by its children As we've mentioned, private members cannot be referenced by name in the child class However, private members inherited by child classes exist and can be referenced indirectly 8-29 Visibility Revisited Because the parent can refer to the private member, the child can reference it indirectly using its parent's methods The super reference can be used to refer to the parent class, even if no object of the parent exists See FoodAnalyzer.java (page 459) See FoodItem.java (page 460) See Pizza.java (page 461) 8-30 Summary Chapter 09 focused on: deriving new classes from existing classes the protected modifier creating class hierarchies abstract classes indirect visibility of inherited members designing for inheritance 8-31 

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