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Inheritance allows you to create child classes of existing classes.

a class
called Robot. Robot contains some basic methods needed by all Robots.
For example:

public class Robot {


public void start() {
System.out.println("Robot started.");
}
public void work() {
System.out.println("Robot working.");
}
public void stop() {
System.out.println("Robot stopped.");
}
}

the Robot class merely defines start(), work() and stop() methods, and
each method merely prints out what it's supposed to do.
a main method to run Robot is

public class Application {


public static void main(String[] args) {
Robot robot = new Robot();

robot.start();
robot.work();
robot.stop();
}
}
Running this program produces the following output:

Robot started.
Robot working.
Robot stopped.

to create particular types of Robots that "inherit" all the functionality of


Robot. For instance, let's create a WasteDisposalRobot:

public class WasteDisposalRobot extends Robot {


public void findWaste() {
System.out.println("Finding waste");
}
}
Using the keyword extends, we've create a WasteDisposalRobot that can
do everything that Robot does, and also adds a findWaste() method.
We can use it as follows:

WasteDisposalRobot robot = new


WasteDisposalRobot();
robot.start();
robot.findWaste();
robot.work();
robot.stop();

Robot started.
Finding waste
Robot working.
Robot stopped.
The WasteDisposalRobot is a subclass or child class of the Robot class;
the Robot class is its superclass or parent class.
WasteDispoalRobot can do everything that Robot can do, and we can add
new methods (and data) to it also.

Method Overriding

In the following code, we've overridden the work() method in the Robot
parent class so that it does something different in the WasteDisposalRobot
child class.

public class WasteDisposalRobot extends Robot {


public void findWaste() {

System.out.println("Finding waste");
}
@Override //directive
public void work() {
System.out.println("Disposing waste!");
}
}

Robot started.
Finding waste
Disposing waste!
Robot stopped.

Note the @Override directive just before the overridden method. This is
not obligatory, but you should always use it. It tells the Java compiler that
you intend to override a method in the parent class. If you misspell the
method name and try to override a method that does not exist, the compiler
will warn you by throwing an error.

Instance Variable Inheritance


If the Robot superclass has some instance variables, do the child classes
also have access to these variables? This depends on whether you define
the instance variables in the parent class using
the public, private or protected access specifiers, or with none at all. as
long as instance variables are not private, they can be accessed by
subclasses.
Here placed all relevant code in one file to make it easier to read.

class Fruit {

String name;
Fruit() {
name = "Fruit";
}
public String getName() {
return name;
}
}
class Banana extends Fruit {
Banana() {
name = "Banana";
}
}
public class Application {
public static void main(String[] args) {
Fruit fruit = new Fruit();
Banana banana = new Banana();
System.out.println(fruit.getName());
System.out.println(banana.getName());
}
}
The constructors of both classes set the name instance variable. The
Banana class extends the Fruit class (i.e. inherits from it); its constructor
also has access to the name instance variable, which it sets. Then
when name is retrieved from either class using the getName() method, an
appropriate name is returned and displayed.

Fruit
Banana
Constructor Inheritance
Constructors are inherited like other methods, and in fact when you
construct a child object, the default constructor of its parent is called
automatically first.

class Fruit {
Fruit() {
System.out.println("Fruit constructed");
}
}
class Banana extends Fruit {
Banana() {
System.out.println("Banana constructed");
}
}
public class Application {

public static void main(String[] args) {


Banana banana = new Banana();
}

Fruit constructed
Banana constructed

If there is no default constructor in the parent class, you must define a


constructor explicitly in the child class. If you want, you can then call the
appropriate constructor in the parent class using the super keyword.

class Fruit {
Fruit(String name) {
System.out.println("Fruit constructed with
name: " + name);
}
}
class Banana extends Fruit {
Banana() {
super("Banana");
}
}
public class Application {

public static void main(String[] args) {


Banana banana = new Banana();
}

Fruit constructed with name: Banana

Inheritance and polymorphism:


Two big words in Java programming.

Polymorphism in Java
We can perform polymorphism in java by method overloading
and method overriding.
Polymorphism: basically, once you've got a child class, you can use
objects of that child class wherever you'd use objects of the parent class.
Java will automatically invoke the right methods.
For instance, even if we have a variable with the type of a parent class, we
can assign it to a child class and we can call overridden methods in the
child class using that variable.
Let's see an example.

class Fruit {
public void show() {
System.out.println("Fruit");

class Banana extends Fruit {


@Override
public void show() {
System.out.println("Banana");
}

public void makeBananaTree() {


System.out.println("Making a tree");
}

public class Application {


public static void main(String[] args) {
Fruit banana = new Banana();

banana.show();
// The following WILL NOT work;
// Variables of type Fruit know only
// about Fruit methods.
// banana.makeBananaTree();

Banana
you can't assign a Banana to a Fruit variable and then use it to call
methods that belong only to Banana and not to Fruit. Fruit only knows
about Fruit methods. A variable of the type of a particular class knows only
about methods defined in that particular class and its superclasses. It

doesn't know about methods defined in subclasses, even though you can
assign objects of subclass types to the variable (Banana objects to Fruit
variables, as in this example) and the overridden methods will be correctly
called.
Advantages of Polymorphism:

It is a feature that allows one interface to be used for a


general class of actions.
An operation may exhibit different behaviour in different
instances.
The behaviour depends on the types of data used in the
operation.
It plays an important role in allowing objects having
different internal structures to share the same external
interface.
Polymorphism is extensively used in implementing
inheritance.