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For 2021 - online Python 3 training - see ((here)).

Our plans were to retire in summer 2020 and see the world, but Coronavirus has lead us into a lot of lockdown programming in Python 3 and PHP 7.
We can now offer tailored online training - small groups, real tutors - works really well for groups of 4 to 14 delegates. Anywhere in the world; course language English.

Please ask about private 'maintenance' training for Python 2, Tcl, Perl, PHP, Lua, etc.
Inheritance, Composition and Associated objects - when to use which - Python example

• Inheritance is where one object is based on another.

• Composition is where one object contains another.

Question: Which should I use?

Answer: Probably BOTH!

On yesterday's Python course, the question came up, and I wrote an illustrative answer - source code [here]. The scenario we took was a restaurant.

We have tables of various shapes - rectangular ones, square ones, and circular ones. They're all based on a base class called table as all tables, no matter what shape, have some properties in common. And then we inherit from that base class to give somewhat updated table subclasses for each shape adding in the extra logic to work out how many people can be seated without being on the corners.

We also have persons - staff and customers - which have some features in common (such as names) but some differences in their other properties. Again, that's a case of inheritance.

The next step is to say that we have a member of staff responsible for each table, and multiple customers (perhaps) seated at each table. And that's where our composite / associated objects come into play. We don't want to add all the attributes of a staff member to a table - we just want to have a contained or associated object of type staff in our object of type table, and a list of objects of type customer in our object of type table.

The diagram, drawn using "class" and "object" tables in a UML-like way, shows these various relationships.

Update ... the course carried on the following day, and I added various static methods including a factory, comparators, and overrode the print method for some objects. The final source code is [here].


(written 2012-10-10, updated 2012-10-13)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
Y116 - Python - Applying OO design techniques and best practise
  [340] Code and code maintainance efficiency - (2005-06-08)
  [656] Think about your design even if you don't use full UML - (2006-03-24)
  [668] Python - block insets help with documentation - (2006-04-04)
  [836] Build on what you already have with OO - (2006-08-17)
  [945] Code quality counts - (2006-11-26)
  [1181] Good Programming practise - where to initialise variables - (2007-05-09)
  [2363] Alpaca Case or Camel Case - (2009-08-16)
  [2407] Testing code in Python - doctest, unittest and others - (2009-09-16)
  [2485] How do I set up a constant in Python? - (2009-10-31)
  [2523] Plan your application before you start - (2009-12-02)
  [2604] Tips for writing a test program (Ruby / Python / Java) - (2010-01-29)
  [4028] Really Simple Class and Inheritance example in Python - (2013-03-04)
  [4118] We not only teach PHP and Python - we teach good PHP and Python Practice! - (2013-06-18)
  [4359] How to avoid too many recalculations within an object - (2014-12-21)
  [4718] Defining an object that is a modified standard type in Python - (2016-11-02)

Y112 - Python - Objects - Intermediate
  [296] Using a Python dictionary as a holder of object attributes - (2005-04-30)
  [383] Overloading of operators on standard objects in Python - (2005-07-19)
  [477] Class, static and unbound variables - (2005-10-25)
  [831] Comparison of Object Oriented Philosophy - Python, Java, C++, Perl - (2006-08-13)
  [903] Pieces of Python - (2006-10-23)
  [964] Practical polymorphism in action - (2006-12-04)
  [1146] __new__ v __init__ - python constructor alternatives? - (2007-04-14)
  [1217] What are factory and singleton classes? - (2007-06-04)
  [1517] Python - formatting objects - (2008-01-24)
  [1644] Using a utility method to construct objects of different types - Python - (2008-05-17)
  [1661] Equality, sameness and identity - Python - (2008-05-31)
  [1819] Calling base class constructors - (2008-10-03)
  [2368] Python - fresh examples of all the fundamentals - (2009-08-20)
  [2409] TypeError: super() argument 1 must be type, not classobj (Python) - (2009-09-18)
  [2693] Methods that run on classes (static methods) in Python - (2010-03-25)
  [2717] The Multiple Inheritance Conundrum, interfaces and mixins - (2010-04-11)
  [2720] Multiple inheritance in Python - complete working example - (2010-04-14)
  [2722] Mixins example in Python - (2010-04-14)
  [2764] Python decorators - your own, staticmethod and classmethod - (2010-05-14)
  [2785] The Light bulb moment when people see how Object Orientation works in real use - (2010-05-28)
  [2889] Should Python classes each be in their own file? - (2010-07-27)
  [2905] Defining static methods in Python - (2010-08-05)
  [2994] Python - some common questions answered in code examples - (2010-10-10)
  [3002] A list of special method and attribute names in Python - (2010-10-17)
  [3442] A demonstration of how many Python facilities work together - (2011-09-16)
  [3472] Static variables in functions - and better ways using objects - (2011-10-10)
  [3524] Metaclasses (Python) and Metatables (Lua) - (2011-11-17)
  [3796] Backquote, backtic, str and repr in Python - conversion object to string - (2012-07-05)
  [4094] Python Properties - how and why - (2013-05-18)
  [4344] Python base and inherited classes, test harness and unit testing - new examples - (2014-12-07)
  [4356] Object factories in C++, Python, PHP and Perl - (2014-12-19)
  [4366] Changing what operators do on objects - a comparison across different programming languages - (2014-12-26)
  [4410] A good example of recursion - a real use in Python - (2015-02-01)
  [4449] Spike solution, refactoring into encapsulated object methods - good design practise - (2015-03-05)
  [4450] Deciding whether to use parameters, conditional statements or subclasses - (2015-03-05)
  [4541] Setting up and tearing down with the Python with keyword - (2015-10-16)
  [4649] Object and Static methods - what is the difference; example in Python 3 - (2016-02-17)
  [4717] with in Python - examples of use, and of defining your own context - (2016-11-02)
  [4719] Nesting decorators - (2016-11-02)

Q907 - Object Orientation and General technical topics - Object Orientation: Design Techniques
  [80] OO - real benefits - (2004-10-09)
  [236] Tapping in on resources - (2005-03-05)
  [507] Introduction to Object Oriented Programming - (2005-11-27)
  [534] Design - one name, one action - (2005-12-19)
  [747] The Fag Packet Design Methodology - (2006-06-06)
  [1047] Maintainable code - some positive advice - (2007-01-21)
  [1224] Object Relation Mapping (ORM) - (2007-06-09)
  [1435] Object Oriented Programming in Perl - Course - (2007-11-18)
  [1528] Object Oriented Tcl - (2008-02-02)
  [1538] Teaching Object Oriented Java with Students and Ice Cream - (2008-02-12)
  [2169] When should I use OO techniques? - (2009-05-11)
  [2170] Designing a heirarcy of classes - getting inheritance right - (2009-05-11)
  [2327] Planning! - (2009-08-08)
  [2380] Object Oriented programming - a practical design example - (2009-08-27)
  [2501] Simples - (2009-11-12)
  [2741] What is a factory? - (2010-04-26)
  [2747] Containment, Associative Objects, Inheritance, packages and modules - (2010-04-30)
  [2865] Relationships between Java classes - inheritance, packaging and others - (2010-07-10)
  [2878] Program for reliability and efficiency - do not duplicate, but rather share and re-use - (2010-07-19)
  [2953] Turning an exercise into the real thing with extreme programming - (2010-09-11)
  [2977] What is a factory method and why use one? - Example in Ruby - (2010-09-30)
  [3063] Comments in and on Perl - a case for extreme OO programming - (2010-11-21)
  [3085] Object Oriented Programming for Structured Programmers - conversion training - (2010-12-14)
  [3260] Ruby - a training example that puts many language elements together to demonstrate the whole - (2011-04-23)
  [3454] Your PHP website - how to factor and refactor to reduce growing pains - (2011-09-24)
  [3607] Designing your application - using UML techniques - (2012-02-11)
  [3760] Why you should use objects even for short data manipulation programs in Ruby - (2012-06-10)
  [3763] Spike solutions and refactoring - a Python example - (2012-06-13)
  [3798] When you should use Object Orientation even in a short program - Python example - (2012-07-06)
  [3844] Rooms ready for guests - each time, every time, thanks to good system design - (2012-08-20)
  [3878] From Structured to Object Oriented Programming. - (2012-10-02)
  [3928] Storing your intermediate data - what format should you you choose? - (2012-11-20)
  [3978] Teaching OO - how to avoid lots of window switching early on - (2013-01-17)
  [4098] Using object orientation for non-physical objects - (2013-05-22)
  [4374] Test driven development, and class design, from first principles (using C++) - (2014-12-30)
  [4430] The spirit of Java - delegating to classes - (2015-02-18)
  [4628] Associative objects - one object within another. - (2016-01-20)


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What a difference a year made - Melksham Campus
Some other Articles
The components of an Apache httpd / Tomcat / MySQL stack and what each does
Here comes Santa - on the train from Melksham to Swindon on 2nd December 2012
Melksham Chamber of Commerce - whence in 2013 and beyond?
What a difference a year made - Melksham Campus
Inheritance, Composition and Associated objects - when to use which - Python example
Formatting output - why we need to, and first Python example
Default local - a good choice by the author of Python
Pictures - across the park, French Weir and River Tone, Taunton
Apple Pressing Day 2012
Community Transport - Pewsey, Taunton, and the whole picture too
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