Saturday, 12 January 2013

Implementation of multiple inheritance in Java

In this article we demonstrate how multiple inheritance can be implemented easily in Java.

Sometimes you need that a certain class behave much like two or more base classes. As Java does not provide multiple inheritance, we have to circumvent this restriction somehow. The idea consists of:
  • Create an interface for exposing the public methods of a certain class;
  • Make your class implement your newly created interface;
At this point, extended classes of your given class can now implement the interface you have created, instead of extending your class. Some more steps ate necessary:
  • Supposing you have an application class which needs multiple inheritance, make it implement several interfaces. Each interface was created as explained above and each interface has a given class which implements the interface.
  • Using the delegation pattern, make your application class implement all interfaces you need.
For example, imagine that you have
  • interface A and its implementation ClassA
  • interface B and its implementation ClassB
  • class ClassC which needs multiple inheritance from classes ClassA and ClassB
interface A {
    void methodA();

interface B {
    void methodB();

class ClassA implements A {
    void methodA() { /* do something A */ }

class ClassB implements B {
    void methodB() { /* do something B */ }

class ClassC implements A, B {

    // initialize delegates
    private final A delegateA = new ClassA();
    private final B delegateB = new ClassB();

    // implements interface A
    void methodA() {

    // implements interface B
    void methodB() {

If you found this article useful, it will be much appreciated if you create a link to this article somewhere in your website. Thanks

[ First published by Richard Gomes on 00:22, 11 March 2008 (UTC) ]

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