Tuesday 3 June 2014

Explain types of Polymorphism in java with examples.

     If an entity can be represented in more than one forms, that entity is said to be polymorphism.

Polymorphism means—One name many form.

       In other words, polymorphism is the ability by which, we can create functions or reference variables which behaves differently in different programmatic context.

There are two types of polymorphism in java,

  • Runtime polymorphism( Dynamic polymorphism(Method overriding))  
  • Compile time polymorphism (static polymorphism(Method Overloading)). 

Runtime Polymorphism( or Dynamic polymorphism):--

         Method overriding is a perfect example of  runtime polymorphism. In this kind of polymorphism, reference of class X can hold object of class X or an object of any sub classes of class X.
For e.g. if class Y extends class X then both of the following statements are valid:

  Y obj = new Y();
  //Parent class reference can be assigned to child object
  X obj = new Y();

     In the method overriding both the classes base and child have same method, compile doesn’t find out which method to call at compile-time instead JVM figure out during run time that’s why it is known as runtime or dynamic polymorphism.

Lets see an example to understand run time polymorphism.

 public class X {
      public void methodA() {//Base class method
            System.out.println (" methodA of class X");

  public class Y extends X {
       public void methodA() {         //Derived Class method
             System.out.println ("methodA of class Y");
  public class Z {
       public static void main (String args []) {
            X obj1 = new X();   // Reference and object X
            X obj2 = new Y();   // X reference but Y object
            methodA of class X
            methodA of class Y

      As you can see the methodA has different-2 forms in child and parent class thus we can
say methodA here is polymorphic.

Compile time Polymorphism( or Static polymorphism):-

       Compile time polymorphism is nothing but the method overloading in java. In simple terms we can say that a class can have more than one methods with same name but with different number of arguments or different types of arguments or both. To  know more about it refer method overloading in java.

Lets see the below example to understand compile time polymorphism-
 class X {
      void methodA(int num) {
          System.out.println ("methodA:" + num);
      void methodA(int num1, int num2) {
          System.out.println ("methodA:" + num1 + "," + num2);
      double methodA(double num) {
           System.out.println("methodA:" + num);
           return num;

 class Y {
      public static void main (String args []) {
            X Obj = new X();
            double result;
            Obj.methodA(20, 30);
            result = Obj.methodA(5.5);
            System.out.println("Answer is:" + result);

               Answer is:5.5

            As you can see in the above example that the class has three variance of methodA or we can say methodA is polymorphic in nature since it is having three different forms. In such scenario, compiler is able to figure out the method call at compile-time that’s the reason it is known as compile time polymorphism.

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