What is Hierarchical Inheritance in Java?

What is Hierarchical Inheritance in Java?


What is Hierarchical Inheritance in Java?

What is Hierarchical Inheritance in Java?

What is Hierarchical Inheritance in Java?


What is Hierarchical Inheritance in Java?

What is Hierarchical Inheritance in Java

Inheritance is the first of the four pillars you learn in the object-oriented programming. It gives one class the abilities of another, making it a superpower. Here we are going to discuss hierarchical inheritance in Java.

Each class has multiple children, like a family tree.

We’ll explore hierarchical inheritance’s merits and limitations to help you create it in Java. This post will help you understand and apply this strong idea.

Be prepared to learn how hierarchical inheritance works and how it may enhance your Java programming abilities. Let’s delve into Java inheritance!

Hierarchical Inheritance

First of all What is hierarchical inheritance?

This amazing idea simplifies code reuse and organization.

Consider it a family tree. In hierarchical inheritance, “superclass” means the single parent class. This “root” class stores common characteristics and methods for numerous child classes. This is our most important group.

Any subclass, or child class, may inherit the parent class’s fantastic powers. Like a free ticket to all premium services!

However, different children may add additional features to the game. It may alter or augment the parent class’s attributes and methods to suit its requirements. It’s like the family’s qualities were chosen to enhance their appeal.

Its versatility makes hierarchical inheritance a desirable design paradigm. This lets us organize classes. All subclasses will have access to it once the parent class declares it. This avoids rewriting code for several classes.

Hierarchical inheritance was revolutionary because object-oriented programming allowed several inheritance levels. It simplifies, reuses, and helps us organize our class hierarchy.

hierarchical-inheritance-in-java (2)
hierarchical-inheritance-in-java (2)

Implementing Hierarchical Inheritance in Java

Let’s see hierarchical inheritance in Java in action. Let’s create a geometric clan!



The first superclass is “Shape.” This class maintains the “protected double area” and “public void calculateArea()” properties and methods of all forms.

The “Shape” class adds “circle” and “rectangle” classes.

“Circle” inherits “Shape’s” wonderful characteristics. Circles have “private double radius.” But wait! We customized the “Circle” class’s “calculateArea()” method. We must redefine it to calculate circular area.

The “Rectangle” class inherits all of the characteristics and functions of “Shape”. Private double length and width are rectangle-only traits. We implement our own “calculateArea()” method in the “Rectangle” class to compute rectangle areas like circles.

The result? The forms are ordered.

“Shape” stores all shared data, whereas “Circle” and “Rectangle” inherit and enhance the parent’s capability while adding their own twists.

Hierarchical inheritance is amazing like this. While reusing code and keeping order, we may change form behavior independently.

This shows how to expand the “Shape” class to provide endless custom shapes with unique properties and functions.

Isn’t it fantastic that Java lets us build a clean class hierarchy? Hierarchical inheritance in our Java code makes this feasible. 


Benefits of Hierarchical Inheritance in Java

Hierarchical inheritance offers many advantages in Java development:

  • Reusing Code: Code reuse is possible with hierarchical inheritance by allowing child classes to inherit properties and methods from the parent class. This reduces redundancy and leads to more efficient code development.
  • Modularity: By organizing classes in a hierarchy, hierarchical inheritance enhances code modularity.It simplifies programming by letting developers concentrate on certain application parts.
  • Extensibility: Hierarchical inheritance facilitates extensibility. New child classes can be created to add specialized features or modify existing functionality, without impacting the parent class or other child classes.


Drawbacks of Hierarchical Inheritance in Java

While hierarchical inheritance offers numerous benefits, it also comes with some drawbacks.

  • Complexity:- HHierarchical inheritance increases code complexity as the hierarchy rises. Developers must manage the relationships between classes, which can become challenging in intricate systems.
  • Method Overriding: Child classes may override parent methods. This can lead to confusion if the overriding method behaves differently than expected, affecting the functioning of the parent class.


Best Practices for Using Hierarchical Inheritance

To make the most of hierarchical inheritance in Java, it is essential to follow best practices.

  • Limited Depth:- Avoid creating overly deep hierarchies. Limit the number of child classes that extend from a single parent class to maintain code readability.
  • Keep Classes Cohesive:- Ensure that child classes have a strong “is-a” relationship with the parent class. Child classes should share common features and behaviors with the parent class.
  • Avoid Deep Method Overriding:- Be cautious when overriding methods. Aim for consistency in method behavior across the hierarchy.
  • Favor Composition over Inheritance:- For complex relationships, consider using composition (object composition) instead of inheritance. Composition offers more flexibility and allows for easier maintenance.


More Examples

Let’s see some more examples to understand the hierarchical inheritance in Java even better.

Example 1: Animal Hierarchy



Let’s look at this Java code. Dog or cat?

“Animal” is a superclass. When the “makeSound()” method of this object is called, it writes “Animal makes a sound.”

“Dog” and “Cat” are child classes of “Animal”. Those are subclasses.

The “makeSound()” code is added to each version. “MakeSound()” on a Dog object prints “Dog barks,” and “MakeSound()” on a Cat object prints “Cat meows.” “MakeSound()” gives the message “Dog barks.”

Dogs and cats are “Animal1” and “Animal2” in the “Main” class. We could almost call instances of these subclasses “Animal.”

“makeSound()” starts hierarchical inheritance for “animal1” and “animal2.” Since we refer to the parent class and the objects are subclasses, Java knows which “makeSound()” method to call. Objects are made by subclasses.

“Dog barks” is returned because “animal1.makeSound()” uses the “makeSound()” function of the Dog class. “Animal2.makeSound()” makes the sound “Cat meows” because it uses the “makeSound()” method of the Cat class.

So hierarchical inheritance is good for dynamic code, right? Make a class family with different ways of building methods. These classes are based on the parent class.

Through hierarchical inheritance, Java shows how powerful and flexible it can be. It’s like putting together a family of well-structured classes that all have different personalities but share some traits.


Example 2: Shape Hierarchy



Great Java example. “Shape” is a base class for shapes.

“Shape” is “superclass” or “parent class.” The primary function is “getArea().” Derived classes need abstract methods.

“Shape” spawned “Circle” and “Rectangle”. like subtypes.

Each version must use “getArea()” since each shape has a distinct area. Entering the circle’s radius into the “Circle” class formula yields its area.*r *r. “Rectangle” width and height.

These subclasses utilize Java’s “getArea()” function. The “Circle” and “Rectangle” class methods calculate circle and square area, respectively.

Check abstract classes and hierarchy. Subclasses of “Shape” must utilize our standard interface but may use their own surface area methods.

“Main” produces squares and circles. Shapes come alive when disassembled.

This example illustrates how abstract classes and inheritance hierarchies may provide modular and adaptable geometry architecture. The forms were identical, but their distinctions were highlighted.



What is hierarchical inheritance in OOPs?

Hierarchical inheritance in OOP enables a parent class have several child classes. This allows code reuse and fragmentation. It may also simplify coding.


Why is inheritance useful in Java?

Java classes can easily inherit other classes’ attributes and actions through inheritance. Sharing code and maintaining software is simple with this. It lets you establish a hierarchical class structure, making applications more structured and versatile.


In Java, how many different types of inheritance are there?

There are a total of 4 types of inheritance in Java.

  1. Single inheritance:- A class can inherit from only one parent class.
  2. Multilevel inheritance:- A parent class inherits from another parent class.
  3. Hierarchical inheritance: A class can inherit from multiple parent classes through a chain of inheritance.
  4. Hybrid inheritance: Multiple types of inheritance in one.



Hierarchical inheritance in Java makes programming better. Reusing the code is like giving codes an ability.

A class structure with one “Parent” and many “Child” classes makes it easier to organize and expand code.

Using this kind of strong tool wisely is important. Manage the complexity of your code and avoid deep layers(which make it harder to protect). To avoid shocks, it’s important to be careful when implementing overriding methods.

The key is to use hierarchical layering and standards. This way, we can make software that lasts and which is easy to update.

Let’s use hierarchical inheritance in Java packages without the problems that come with it. With this method, we can make Java programs that are both strong and beautiful. Good luck coding!



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