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C++ Tutorial - Lesson 29: Inheritance

Introduction

by John Kopp

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Introduction
Welcome to EasyCPlusPlus.com's free tutorial on C++ programming. This lesson covers basic inheritance. Classes in object-oriented programming attempt to model real world entities. Just as an entity has properties and abilities, a class has data members and methods. Both entities in the real world, and classes in the worlds our programs create have various relationships. These relationships help to simplify the task of understanding the systems we create and the entities of which they are constructed.

One such relationship is inheritance. In C++, inheritance defines an "is a" relationship. The derived class is a type of its base class. For instance, a "cat" class could be derived from an "animal" class. A cat is an animal. A cat is a type of animal. A derived class inherits both the data members and methods of its base class. It may also define additional members and methods that support specialized functionality. All of this is best understood by studying some simple examples.

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