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Thursday, 5 October 2017

Diamond Problem in Multiple Inheritance in OOPS

The diamond problem occurs when two super classes of a class have a common base class. 

Suppose there are four classes A, B, C and D. Class B and C inherit class A. Now class B and C contains one copy of all the functions and data members of class A. Class D is derived from class B and C. Now class D contains two copies of all the functions and data members of class A. One copy comes from class B and another copy comes from class C.

Let’s say class A has a function with name display(). So class D have two display() functions as I have explained above. If we call display() function using class D object then ambiguity occurs because compiler gets confused that whether it should call display() that came from class B or from class C. If you will compile above program then it will show error.

This kind of problem is called diamond problem as a diamond structure is formed (see the image).

That is why major programming languages like C#, Java and Delphi don't have multiple inheritance because it can lead to diamond problem and rather than providing some complex way to solve it, there are better ways through which we can achieve the same result as multiple inheritance. We can use interfaces to resolve this problem.

C++ supports multiple inheritance.

Notice that the above problem with multiple class inheritance can also come with only three classes where all of them has at least one common method.

Because of this problem we can not extend two classes for implementing multiple inheritance and to resolve this problem of multiple inheritance in object oriented programming we use interfaces for implementing the functionality of multiple inheritance. 

As we know we do not define a function but only declare that function in an interface. So if we use interfaces we can extend one class and one or more interfaces or we can implement more than one interfaces at a time to use the functionality of multiple inheritance and we can escape from diamond problem.

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