Difference Between Composition and Inheritance

Through the use of previous versions to create new software using the concepts of reusability is referred to as reusable code in programming.


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Composition vs Inheritance

The difference between composition and inheritance is that composition is used to build a class having a “has-a” relationship rather than an “is-a” relationship as in inheritance. Inheritance allows member functions through one class to become the property of another without having to code them directly in the class. 

Composition vs Inheritance

Since it’s simple to construct complicated classes utilizing previously published, well-designed classes as components, one can always use an object as a field within another class.

In OOP, inheritance refers to the process by which one entity acquires the characteristics of another. It’s among the most effective ways to enforce code reuse in OOP.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonCompositionInheritance
SignificanceWe just declare a type that we want to utilize in composition, and it can store several implementations that can vary at runtime.We define the class that we are adopting (superclass) in inheritance, and it cannot be altered at execution.
Class CombiningThe ability to combine functionality from distinct classes is provided through composition.We can only extend one class in this case; in other words, many classes cannot be extended because Java does not enable multiple inheritances.
FunctionalityComposition allows us to test the functionality of the classes we’re using without having to worry about whether they’re parent or child classes.Inheritance necessitates the use of a parent class in order to test a child class.
Code ReutilizationEven code from final classes can be reused thanks to composition.The final class cannot be extended through inheritance.
Relationship It is a “has-a” situation.It’s an “is-a” situation.

What is Composition?

A composition is a form of aggregation in which ownership is implied. There is a dependence because one object is dependent on another. Consider the following objects: a school object and a classroom object.

If somehow the characteristics of one object must be incorporated into the features of another, the relationship necessitates composition.

Composition is described as the use of an object inside another object. An entity could be used as a field in any class regularly. In composition, they use an entity that is part of a class.


What is Inheritance?

Inheritance is when a new class uses the attributes and methods of an existing class. This pre-existing class is referred to as the parent class, superclass, or foundation class.

If we want to build a fresh class but there seems to be one with some of the code we need, we may extract our new class from the current one.


Main Differences Between Composition and Inheritance

  1. Even code from final classes can be reused thanks to composition, whereas the final class cannot be extended through inheritance.
  2. Composition is a “has-a” situation, whereas Inheritance is an “is-a” situation.


  1. https://dl.acm.org/doi/abs/10.1145/2161996.2162002
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0890540112000399
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