Blog #7: Hierarchies

I have already written two separate blog posts on the topic of Class Diagrams (UML and ER) so it only seems right that I revisit how they relate to hierarchies in programming. During this semester, we transitions from UML Class Diagrams into hierarchies with class assignments and a homework project about ducks. The fact that the assignment was based on a program about ducks sounds funny, but it was actually a great example to work with for learning hierarchies better. Some ducks can fly, swim, quack, or squeak depending on the type of duck (including rubber ducks etc.). This is perfect because although all the duck types are considered “ducks,” they all cannot do the same things. This means that programming classes for the different ducks was extremely efficient if it had a good hierarchy for the classes. Rather than hard-programming what every duck could do one at a time, the hierarchy allows the programmer to write much less (as well as have a much easier time adding or deleting duck types). Obviously since all the ducks where considered “ducks” the main class we had to write was just the duck class. Every other class extended off this class and inherited functions from that class. If some ducks shared similar actions and properties, then they would be grouped together under another class and so on. This often creates a web/tree shape if the program where to be drawn out in a diagram. I have learned about hierarchies and their benefits and importance before this semester, but revisiting it is always good for me, especially since I have a bad habit of trying to hard-program things if I am not getting the hierarchy to work the way I want it to. For this post, I did not use a link, but I certainly would still recommend looking around the internet or in books to find all the information about this very important topic of computer programming. All of the studying, researching, and practicing is valuable!

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