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Overriding

Definition

In technology, particularly in programming, overriding refers to the ability of a subclass to provide a specific implementation of a method that is already provided by one of its superclasses. When a method in a subclass has the same name, parameters, and return type as a method in its superclass, the method in the subclass is said to override the method in the superclass. The version of a method that is executed will be determined by the object that is used to invoke it.

Phonetic

The phonetics of the keyword “Overriding” is /ˌoʊvəˈraɪdɪŋ/.

Key Takeaways

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  1. Polymorphism in Object-Oriented Programming: Overriding is a feature that comes under Polymorphism in Object-Oriented Programming. It allows a subclass to provide a specific implementation of a method that’s already provided by its superclass.
  2. Method Signature: In order to override a method, we need to declare a method in a subclass which has the same parameter list and return type as the method in the superclass. This is known as the method signature.
  3. Super keyword: The keyword “super” is often used in method overriding. It’s used in the subclass method to call the super class’s method. This can be useful when you want to add more to the behavior of the method from the parent class.

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Importance

Overriding is a crucial concept in technology, particularly within object-oriented programming. It allows a subclass or child class to provide a specific implementation of a method already present in its superclass or parent class. This ability enhances the flexibility and functionality of programming architectures. By permitting modifications to how inherited methods operate in the context of each unique subclass, overriding can lead to more efficient, cleaner, and adaptable code. It is key to the principles of encapsulation and polymorphism, which are central to object-oriented programming, making synthesized complex systems more error-resistant and maintainable.

Explanation

Overriding serves a critical purpose in the realm of object-oriented programming, specifically in the concept of inheritance where one class borrows or extends the properties and methods of another class. The fundamental purpose of overriding is to provide a specific implementation to a method that is already offered by its parent class. In a scenario where a method in a base class doesn’t exactly fit the requirements of your derived class, overriding allows you to offer a new definition for the same method without changing the method’s structure such as its name, return type, or parameters in the derived class. This retains the consistency of your code interface while tweaking the underlying mechanism to meet your specific application needs.The value of method overriding lies in enabling polymorphism, a pillar of object-oriented programming. When you override a method, the program determines which version to use based on the object’s class at runtime, not the variable’s reference type at compilation. Therefore, if a child class and parent class have a method with the same name, the version in the child class will run when called on a child object, even if the call comes from a variable declared as the parent type. This doesn’t just increase flexibility in code reuse, but it also allows developers to design subclasses that are unique yet compatible with their parent class, making systems easier to understand, scale and maintain.

Examples

1. Controlling Home Appliances: In modern homes, various appliances like thermostats, lighting or alarm systems can be controlled via smart devices or applications. Even when the appliance is set to a specific mode, users can override this status by using their smart device. For example, if the thermostat is programed to reduce the heating level when the homeowners are away, they can override this setting and increase the heat remotely if they plan to return home earlier than scheduled.2. Vehicle Safety Systems: Modern vehicles are equipped with various safety systems to assist the driver. For instance, in a car with automatic braking system that senses a potential collision, the driver can override this system by pressing the accelerator pedal. Similarly, in a car with cruise control active, pressing the brake pedal instantly overrides it, giving control back to the driver.3. Software Development: This is a common occurrence in programming environments. A method in a child class provides a different implementation than the same method in its parent class, overriding the original behavior. For example, many software applications allow users to customize the application settings according to their needs. Even though the application has default settings, the user’s custom settings will override the defaults. This also applies to updates or patches for software, where the new code overrides the old one.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

**Q: What does the term “Overriding” mean in technology?**A: Overriding refers to the ability in object-oriented programming, where a child class provides a different implementation of a method that is already defined by its parent class or ancestor class. Essentially, it allows a subclass to provide a more specific, or different behavior than its superclass.**Q: Why is overriding used?**A: Overriding is used for runtime polymorphism. It allows a child class to implement a method based on its requirement. In object-oriented programming, this provides flexibility and allows individual objects to behave differently.**Q: Can a method be overridden in the same class?**A: No, a method cannot be overridden within the same class. Overriding by definition happens in two classes with a parent-child relationship.**Q: What’s the difference between method Overloading and Overriding?**A: Method Overriding occurs when a derived class provides a different implementation of a method that is already provided by its base class while method overloading is when multiple methods have the same name with different parameters within the same class.**Q: Can we override a static method?**A: No, we cannot override static methods as they belong to the class rather than the instance of the object. **Q: Can we override a final method in Java?**A: No, a method declared as final cannot be overridden in Java. The final modifier prevents a method from being modified in a subclass. **Q: Can we override private methods?**A: No, private methods cannot be overridden as they are not accessible outside the class they are declared in. Overriding takes place only when the methods are inherited by the subclass, and private methods cannot be inherited.

Related Tech Terms

  • Polymorphism
  • Inheritance
  • Encapsulation
  • Method Signature
  • Superclass and Subclass

Sources for More Information

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