Inheritance and Polymorphism
Using a Child Class as its Parent Class

An important facet of polymorphism is the ability to use a child class object where an object of its parent class is expected.

One way to do this explicitly is to instantiate a child class object as a member of the parent class. We can instantiate a CheckingAcount object as a BankAccount like this:

BankAccount kaylasAccount = new CheckingAcount(600.00);

We can use kaylasAccount as if it were an instance of BankAccount, in any situation where a BankAccount object would be expected. (This would be true even if kaylasAccount were instantiated as a CheckingAccount, but using the explicit child as parent syntax is most helpful when we want to declare objects in bulk.)

It is important to note here that the compiler just considers kaylasAccount to be any old BankAccount. But because method overriding is handled at runtime, if we call printBalance(), we’ll see something CheckingAccount specific:

Your checking account balance is $600.00

This is because at runtime, kaylasAccount is recognized as the CheckingAccount it is. So, what if CheckingAccount has a method transferToSavings() that BankAccount does not have? Can kaylasAccount still use that method?

Well, no. The compiler believes that kaylasAccount is just a BankAccount that doesn’t have some fancy child class transferToSavings() method, so it would throw an error.



If you take a look at the Dinner class, you’ll see there’s a makeNoodles() method that accepts a Noodle object as an argument.

In main(), instantiate a BiangBiang object as a Noodle called biangBiang.

Then call makeNoodles() on noodlesDinner with the following arguments:

  • biangBiang
  • "soy sauce and chili oil"
Folder Icon

Take this course for free

Already have an account?