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[Page 686]

Chapter 13. Object-Oriented Programming: Polymorphism

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien

The silence often of pure innocence

Persuades when speaking fails.

William Shakespeare

General propositions do not decide concrete cases.

Oliver Wendell Holmes

A philosopher of imposing stature doesn't think in a vacuum. Even his most abstract ideas are, to some extent, conditioned by what is or is not known in the time when he lives.

Alfred North Whitehead


In this chapter you will learn:

  • What polymorphism is, how it makes programming more convenient, and how it makes systems more extensible and maintainable.

  • To declare and use virtual functions to effect polymorphism.

  • The distinction between abstract and concrete classes.

  • To declare pure virtual functions to create abstract classes.

  • How to use run-time type information (RTTI) with downcasting, dynamic_cast, typeid and type_info.

  • How C++ implements virtual functions and dynamic binding "under the hood."

  • How to use virtual destructors to ensure that all appropriate destructors run on an object.

[Page 687]


13.1 Introduction

13.2 Polymorphism Examples

13.3 Relationships Among Objects in an Inheritance Hierarchy

13.3.1 Invoking Base-Class Functions from Derived-Class Objects

13.3.2 Aiming Derived-Class Pointers at Base-Class Objects

13.3.3 Derived-Class Member-Function Calls via Base-Class Pointers

13.3.4 Virtual Functions

13.3.5 Summary of the Allowed Assignments Between Base-Class and Derived-Class Objects and Pointers

13.4 Type Fields and switch Statements

13.5 Abstract Classes and Pure virtual Functions

13.6 Case Study: Payroll System Using Polymorphism

13.6.1 Creating Abstract Base Class Employee

13.6.2 Creating Concrete Derived Class SalariedEmployee

13.6.3 Creating Concrete Derived Class HourlyEmployee

13.6.4 Creating Concrete Derived Class CommissionEmployee

13.6.5 Creating Indirect Concrete Derived Class BasePlusCommissionEmployee

13.6.6 Demonstrating Polymorphic Processing

13.7 (Optional) Polymorphism, Virtual Functions and Dynamic Binding "Under the Hood"

13.8 Case Study: Payroll System Using Polymorphism and Run-Time Type Information with Downcasting, dynamic_cast, typeid and type_info

13.9 Virtual Destructors

13.10 (Optional) Software Engineering Case Study: Incorporating Inheritance into the ATM System

13.11 Wrap-Up



Self-Review Exercises

Answers to Self-Review Exercises


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