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5 Alternatives to Inheritance

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In this article at OpenGenus, we have listed and explored 5 alternatives to the popular OOP technique that is Inheritance.

Table of contents:

  1. Can Inheritance be replaced?
  2. 5 Alternatives to Inheritance

Can Inheritance be replaced?

Yes, Inheritance can be replaced.

Inheritance is a good coding practice and is completely optional to follow. It depends on the Programmer.

A Programming Language will provide other features that can be used to replace Inheritance for specific usecases but there is no one single feature that can replace Inheritance.

5 Alternatives to Inheritance

The 5 Alternatives to Inheritance are:

  1. Interfaces
  2. Composition
  3. Mixins
  4. Decorators
  5. Delegation

We will dive into each alternative.

1. Interfaces

Interface provides a structure that child classes can follow but it does not provide any implementation for the structure. Due to this, there is no code reuse.

A class can implement multiple interfaces so it results in Polymorphism but does not come with code coupling as in inheritance.

Example include interface in Java Programming Language.

2. Composition

In Composition, an object is made up using other objects and does not inherit the behaviour of any object. This helps in code reuse like Inheritance.

Examples include struct and union in C and C++ Programming Language.

3. Mixins

Mixin is a concept in OOP where new classes with functionality can be mixed with other classes like composition and producing new classes like child class in Inheritance.

Mixin can be seen as a weaker but flexible form of Inheritance.

4. Decorators

Decorator is a technique to add new functionality to an object during runtime.

Note that inheritance adds functionality to a class that is all objects of the class and during compilation time.

5. Delegation

In general, delegation means giving partial responsibility to others.

In case of OOP, Delegation refers to a relationship between 2 objects where one object passes an information or method class to another object. This is seen as an alternative to Inheritance.

With this article at OpenGenus, you must have the complete idea of different alternatives to Inheritance.

Rahul Reddy

M.Tech in Computer Science and Engineering from IIT Bhubaneswar | SDE Intern at Flipkart

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OpenGenus Tech Review Team OpenGenus Tech Review Team