Inheriting a Class
In This Chapter
Inheriting a base class
Constructing the base class
Exploring meaningful relationships: The IS_A versus the HAS_A relationship
This chapter discusses inheritance, the ability of one class to inherit capabilities or properties from another class.
Inheritance is a common concept. I am a human (except when I first wake up in the morning). I inherit certain properties from the class Human, such as my ability to converse (more or less) intelligently and my dependence on air, water, and carbohydrate-based nourishment (a little too dependent on the latter, I’m afraid). These properties are not unique to humans. The class Human inherits the dependencies on air, water, and nourishment from the class Mammal, which inherited it from the class Animal.
The capability of passing down properties is a powerful one. It enables you to describe things in an economical way. For example, if my son asks, “What’s a duck?” I can say, “It’s a bird that goes quack.” Despite what you may think, that answer conveys a considerable amount of ...