The process of inheriting the properties of the parent class into a child class is called inheritance. The existing class is called a base class or parent class and the new class is called a subclass or child class or derived class.
In this Python lesson, you will learn inheritance, method overloading, method overriding, types of inheritance, and MRO (Method Resolution Order).
In Object-oriented programming, inheritance is an important aspect. The main purpose of inheritance is the reusability of code because we can use the existing class to create a new class instead of creating it from scratch.
In inheritance, the child class acquires all the data members, properties, and functions from the parent class. Also, a child class can also provide its specific implementation to the methods of the parent class.
For example, In the real world, Car is a sub-class of a Vehicle class. We can create a Car by inheriting the properties of a Vehicle such as Wheels, Colors, Fuel tank, engine, and add extra properties in Car as required.
class BaseClass: Body of base class class DerivedClass(BaseClass): Body of derived class
Table of contents
Types Of Inheritance
In Python, based upon the number of child and parent classes involved, there are five types of inheritance. The type of inheritance are listed below:
- Single inheritance
- Multiple Inheritance
- Multilevel inheritance
- Hierarchical Inheritance
- Hybrid Inheritance
Now let’s see each in detail with an example.
In single inheritance, a child class inherits from a single-parent class. Here is one child class and one parent class.
Let’s create one parent class called
ClassOne and one child class called
ClassTwo to implement single inheritance.
# Base class class Vehicle: def Vehicle_info(self): print('Inside Vehicle class') # Child class class Car(Vehicle): def car_info(self): print('Inside Car class') # Create object of Car car = Car() # access Vehicle's info using car object car.Vehicle_info() car.car_info()
Inside Vehicle class Inside Car class
In multiple inheritance, one child class can inherit from multiple parent classes. So here is one child class and multiple parent classes.
# Parent class 1 class Person: def person_info(self, name, age): print('Inside Person class') print('Name:', name, 'Age:', age) # Parent class 2 class Company: def company_info(self, company_name, location): print('Inside Company class') print('Name:', company_name, 'location:', location) # Child class class Employee(Person, Company): def Employee_info(self, salary, skill): print('Inside Employee class') print('Salary:', salary, 'Skill:', skill) # Create object of Employee emp = Employee() # access data emp.person_info('Jessa', 28) emp.company_info('Google', 'Atlanta') emp.Employee_info(12000, 'Machine Learning')
Inside Person class Name: Jessa Age: 28 Inside Company class Name: Google location: Atlanta Inside Employee class Salary: 12000 Skill: Machine Learning
In the above example, we created two parent classes
Company respectively. Then we create one child called
Employee which inherit from Person and Company classes.
In multilevel inheritance, a class inherits from a child class or derived class. Suppose three classes A, B, C. A is the superclass, B is the child class of A, C is the child class of B. In other words, we can say a chain of classes is called multilevel inheritance.
# Base class class Vehicle: def Vehicle_info(self): print('Inside Vehicle class') # Child class class Car(Vehicle): def car_info(self): print('Inside Car class') # Child class class SportsCar(Car): def sports_car_info(self): print('Inside SportsCar class') # Create object of SportsCar s_car = SportsCar() # access Vehicle's and Car info using SportsCar object s_car.Vehicle_info() s_car.car_info() s_car.sports_car_info()
Inside Vehicle class Inside Car class Inside SportsCar class
In the above example, we can see there are three classes named
Vehicle is the superclass,
Car is a child of Vehicle,
SportsCar is a child of
Car. So we can see the chaining of classes.
In Hierarchical inheritance, more than one child class is derived from a single parent class. In other words, we can say one parent class and multiple child classes.
Let’s create ‘Vehicle’ as a parent class and two child class ‘Car’ and ‘Truck’ as a parent class.
class Vehicle: def info(self): print("This is Vehicle") class Car(Vehicle): def car_info(self, name): print("Car name is:", name) class Truck(Vehicle): def truck_info(self, name): print("Truck name is:", name) obj1 = Car() obj1.info() obj1.car_info('BMW') obj2 = Truck() obj2.info() obj2.truck_info('Ford')
This is Vehicle Car name is: BMW This is Vehicle Truck name is: Ford
When inheritance is consists of multiple types or a combination of different inheritance is called hybrid inheritance.
class Vehicle: def vehicle_info(self): print("Inside Vehicle class") class Car(Vehicle): def car_info(self): print("Inside Car class") class Truck(Vehicle): def truck_info(self): print("Inside Truck class") # Sports Car can inherits properties of Vehicle and Car class SportsCar(Car, Vehicle): def sports_car_info(self): print("Inside SportsCar class") # create object s_car = SportsCar() s_car.vehicle_info() s_car.car_info() s_car.sports_car_info()
Note: In the above example, hierarchical and multiple inheritance exists. Here we created, parent class
Vehicle and two child classes named
Truck this is hierarchical inheritance.
SportsCar inherit from two parent classes named
Vehicle. This is multiple inheritance.
When a class inherits all properties and behavior from the parent class is called inheritance. In such a case, the inherited class is a subclass and the latter class is the parent class.
In child class, we can refer to parent class by using the
super() function. The super function returns a temporary object of the parent class that allows us to call a parent class method inside a child class method.
Benefits of using the
- We are not required to remember or specify the parent
classname to access its methods.
- We can use the
super()function in both single and multiple inheritances.
super()function support code reusability as there is no need to write the entire function
class Company: def company_name(self): return 'Google' class Employee(Company): def info(self): # Calling the superclass method using super()function c_name = super().company_name() print("Jessa works at", c_name) # Creating object of child class emp = Employee() emp.info()
Jessa works at Google
In the above example, we create a parent class
Company and child class
Employee class, we call the parent class method by using a
In Python, we can verify whether a particular class is a subclass of another class. For this purpose, we can use Python built-in function
issubclass(). This function returns
True if the given class is the subclass of the specified class. Otherwise, it returns
class: class to be checked.
class, type, or a
tupleof classes or data types.
class Company: def fun1(self): print("Inside parent class") class Employee(Company): def fun2(self): print("Inside child class.") class Player: def fun3(self): print("Inside Player class.") # Result True print(issubclass(Employee, Company)) # Result False print(issubclass(Employee, list)) # Result False print(issubclass(Player, Company)) # Result True print(issubclass(Employee, (list, Company))) # Result True print(issubclass(Company, (list, Company)))
Also, see Python isinstance().
In inheritance, all members available in the parent class are by default available in the child class. If the child class does not satisfy with parent class implementation, then the child class is allowed to redefine that method by extending additional functions in the child class. This concept is called method overriding.
When a child class method has the same name, same parameters, and same return type as a method in its superclass, then the method in the child is said to override the method in the parent class.
class Vehicle: def max_speed(self): print("max speed is 100 Km/Hour") class Car(Vehicle): # overridden the implementation of Vehicle class def max_speed(self): print("max speed is 200 Km/Hour") # Creating object of Car class car = Car() car.max_speed()
max speed is 200 Km/Hour
In the above example, we create two classes named
Vehicle (Parent class) and
Car (Child class). The class Car extends from the class Vehicle so, all properties of the parent class are available in the child class. In addition to that, the child class redefined the method
Method Resolution Order in Python
In Python, Method Resolution Order(MRO) is the order by which Python looks for a method or attribute. First, the method or attribute is searched within a class, and then it follows the order we specified while inheriting.
This order is also called the Linearization of a class, and a set of rules is called MRO (Method Resolution Order). The MRO plays an essential role in multiple inheritances as a single method may found in multiple parent classes.
In multiple inheritance, the following search order is followed.
- First, it searches in the current parent class if not available, then searches in the parents class specified while inheriting (that is left to right.)
- We can get the MRO of a class. For this purpose, we can use either the
mroattribute or the
class A: def process(self): print(" In class A") class B(A): def process(self): print(" In class B") class C(B, A): def process(self): print(" In class C") # Creating object of C class C1 = C() C1.process() print(C.mro()) # In class C # [<class '__main__.C'>, <class '__main__.B'>, <class '__main__.A'>, <class 'object'>]
In the above example, we create three classes named
B is inherited from
C inherits from
A. When we create an object of the
C class and calling the
process() method, Python looks for the
process() method in the current class in the
C class itself.
Then search for parent classes, namely
C class inherit from
A. that is,
C(B, A) and always search in left to right manner.