D Programming - Inheritance


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One of the most important concepts in object-oriented programming is inheritance. Inheritance allows to define a class in terms of another class, which makes it easier to create and maintain an application. This also provides an opportunity to reuse the code functionality and fast implementation time.

When creating a class, instead of writing completely new data members and member functions, the programmer can designate that the new class should inherit the members of an existing class. This existing class is called the base class, and the new class is referred to as the derived class.

The idea of inheritance implements the is a relationship. For example, mammal IS-A animal, dog IS-A mammal hence dog IS-A animal as well and so on.

Base Classes and Derived Classes in D

A class can be derived from more than one classes, which means it can inherit data and functions from multiple base classes. To define a derived class, we use a class derivation list to specify the base class(es). A class derivation list names one or more base classes and has the form −

class derived-class: base-class

Consider a base class Shape and its derived class Rectangle as follows −

import std.stdio;

// Base class 
class Shape { 
   public: 
      void setWidth(int w) { 
         width = w; 
      }

      void setHeight(int h) { 
         height = h; 
      }
   
   protected: 
      int width; 
      int height; 
}
  
// Derived class 
class Rectangle: Shape { 
   public: 
      int getArea() { 
         return (width * height); 
      } 
}
  
void main() { 
   Rectangle Rect = new Rectangle();
   
   Rect.setWidth(5); 
   Rect.setHeight(7); 
   
   // Print the area of the object. 
   writeln("Total area: ", Rect.getArea()); 
} 

When the above code is compiled and executed, it produces the following result −

Total area: 35

Access Control and Inheritance

A derived class can access all the non-private members of its base class. Thus base-class members that should not be accessible to the member functions of derived classes should be declared private in the base class.

A derived class inherits all base class methods with the following exceptions −

  • Constructors, destructors, and copy constructors of the base class.
  • Overloaded operators of the base class.

Multi Level Inheritance

The inheritance can be of multiple levels and it is shown in the following example.

import std.stdio;

// Base class 
class Shape {
   public:
      void setWidth(int w) {
         width = w; 
      }

      void setHeight(int h) {
         height = h; 
      }

   protected: 
      int width; 
      int height; 
}

// Derived class 
class Rectangle: Shape {
   public:
      int getArea() {
         return (width * height); 
      }
}
 
class Square: Rectangle {
   this(int side) {
      this.setWidth(side); 
      this.setHeight(side); 
   }
}

void main() {
   Square square = new Square(13);

   // Print the area of the object.
   writeln("Total area: ", square.getArea());
}

When the above code is compiled and executed, it produces the following result −

Total area: 169


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