Classes in Python can inherit the attributes and procedures (fields and methods) of another class. This is done by putting the parent class name in parenthesis in front of the class declaration as shown:
# Inheritance in coding is when one "child" class receives # all of the methods and attributes of another "parent" class class Test: def __init__(self): self.x = 0 # class Derived_Test inherits from class Test class Derived_Test(Test): def __init__(self): Test.__init__(self) # do Test's __init__ method # Test's __init__ gives Derived_Test the attribute 'x' self.y = 1 b = Derived_Test() # Derived_Test now has an attribute "y", even though # it originally didn't print(b.x, b.y)
View code on GitHub.
Although you can explicitly state the class that you want to do the
__init__method from like the above example, we generally use
super()in its place. When you use
super(), you don't need to pass
selfin as a parameter in the
__init__method (or any method). In the above example, we'd do
As you can see from the example above,
Derived_Testis inheriting from Test. You can tell because
(Test)next to it. In programming terms, the class that is being inherited from is called the parent class while the class that inherits is called the child class.
Why would you want to use inheritance?
- It allows for you to reuse code
- It's more efficient for the programmer
- In the example above, we just did
__init__method and didn't have to explicitly define an
What can you inherit?
You can inherit the attributes and methods of the parent class. This brings up the question: "Can you override the parent class's attributes and methods?" The answer is yes, you can do so. Here's an example of that.
class Furniture: def __init__(self): self.built = True self.material = "nothing" class Sofa(Furniture): def __init__(self): super().__init__() # sets built to True self.material = "comfy stuff" # this overrides Furniture's material self.comfy = True def destroy(self): self.built = False lazy_boy_couch = Sofa() print(lazy_boy_couch.material) # prints "comfy stuff" instead # of 'nothing' since we overrode it lazy_boy_couch.destroy() print(lazy_boy_couch.built) # would print False since we set it to False
The above just shows overriding attributes. Our last example, below, shows overriding methods.
One more Example
Just in case you need it, here's one more example of inheritance. This time, we used more concrete objects that way you can grasp the concept better.
class bird: def __init__(self, wingspan): self.living = True # all birds will be living self.wingspan = wingspan # wingspan will be set to whatever is provided def fly(self): print("it's flying") def eat(self): print("it's eating") class penguin(bird): # penguing is a child of bird def __init__(self, wingspan): # since it's a child of bird, # it needs to take at least as many parameters as bird super().__init__(wingspan) # passes wingspan to bird that # way bird can complete its init (which needs a provided wingspan) def fly(self): # this is an example of overriding a method # instead of fly doing what bird's fly method does, # it will do the following instead print("penguins can't fly") emperor_peng = penguin(30) # 30 is the wingspan emperor_peng.eat() # we didn't define it inside penguin, but # penguin inherited it from bird. It will print "it's eating" emperor_peng.fly() # we overrode it from bird, so it will # do penguin's fly, which is printing "penguins can't fly" print(emperor_peng.wingspan) # will print 30. This is because # we passed 30 to the penguin class as the wingspan. The penguin # class then passed 30 as the wingspan to super().__init__, or bird's init # So, bird used wingspan, which was 30, to set our penguin's wingspan to 30 print(emperor_peng.living) # will print True since bird's init sets it to True
Technically, you don't have to do
super.__init__()whenever you make a child class. However, it generally is used because, without doing that, the class would only inherit the methods and none of the attributes defined inside the
Foodclass with 4 instance attributes:
It should have 2 methods:
eatmethod that prints "You are eating" and the name of the food
burnmethod that prints "You burned [x] calories" where [x] is the number of calories in the food
Then, create a
JunkFoodsubclass and a
Mealsubclass. Both subclasses should inherit from
JunkFoodsubclass should have an additional attribute for the grams of sugar contained in the food, and the
Mealsubclass should have an additional attribute for the mg of sodium it contains.
Finally, create a list called
snacksand fill it with at least 3 junk foods. Then, create a list called
mealsand fill it with at least 3 meals. Then, use Python to show that you ate all the foods in both lists and burned off one meal (pick the meal randomly). Display the total number of calories, grams of protein, grams of fat, grams of sugar, and mg of sodium that you ate (the total for all the foods in both lists).
Create a class
building. It should have a build method that prints:
It should also have an
__init__method that runs the
buildmethod (basically the
__init__method will call the
__init__method should also set an attribute
Next, create a class
library. It should be a child class of
__init__method should run building's
__init__method. It should also create an empty list called
libraryshould also have a
restockmethod. that asks the user for a book, prints "bough %s" where %s is the book's name, and appends the book to the library's list
libraryshould also have a method
catalogthat prints all the library's books on separate lines.
Finally, instantiate the library class. If you did it right, you should see "under construction..." and "built"!
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