Why can an abstract class force a concrete method to be overridden?

I use a library where an abstract class overrides a concrete method inherited from Object with an abstract method:

public abstract class A { @Override public abstract boolean equals(Object obj); }

To extend this class, I have to implement the equals method:

public class B extends A { @Override public boolean equals(Object obj) { return obj != null && obj.getClass() == B.class; } }

Why can an abstract method (A::equals) override a concrete method (Object::equals)? I don't see the goal of this.


In this specific example it makes perfect sense. If sub-classes of A are meant to be used in Collections, where equals is widely used to locate objects, making A's equals method abstract forces you to give non-default implementation of equals in any sub-classes of A (instead of using the default implementation of the Object class which only compares instance references).

Of course, your suggested implementation of equals in B makes little sense. You should be comparing the properties of the 2 B instances to determine if they are equal.

This is a more suitable implementation :

public class B extends A {
public boolean equals(Object obj) {
if (!(obj instanceof B))
return false;
B other = (B) obj;
return this.someProperty.equals(other.someProperty) && this.secondProperty.equals(other.secondProperty);

In addition, remember to override hashCode whenever you override equals (since the contract of equals and hashCode requires that if a.equals(b) == true then a.hashCode() == b.hashCode()).

Because in this case, you would want your objects to define their own equals, which supposedly will behave differently from the default implementation.

You should not look at this as removing functionality, but rather as enforcing that inheriting objects implement their own.

This would allow you to force a subclass to reimplement a method. Whether this is a good idea or not is another matter. You would only do this if you wanted to enforce a stronger contract than the original method provided. You should then carefully document the new contract.

It means you must implement your own equals() method

Because all classes in Java inherently extend the Object class. Class A will inherit the Object#equals method. Suppose you wanted to force a compile error when the equals method is not explicitly implemented like in this example. Making the equals method abstract without an implementation block would enable you to do this.

Category:java Time:2018-12-17 Views:3

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