Chapter 8 discussed access modifiers public and private. A class's public members are accessible wherever the program has a reference to an object of that class or one of its subclasses. A class's private members are accessible only from within the class itself. A superclass's private members are not inherited by its subclasses. In this section, we introduce access modifier protected. Using protected access offers an intermediate level of access between public and private. A superclass's protected members can be accessed by members of that superclass, by members of its subclasses and by members of other classes in the same package (i.e., protected members also have package access).
All public and protected superclass members retain their original access modifier when they become members of the subclass (i.e., public members of the superclass become public members of the subclass, and protected members of the superclass become protected members of the subclass).
Subclass methods can refer to public and protected members inherited from the superclass simply by using the member names. When a subclass method overrides a superclass method, the superclass method can be accessed from the subclass by preceding the superclass method name with keyword super and a dot (.) separator. We discuss accessing overridden members of the superclass in Section 9.4.
Software Engineering Observation 9.1
Methods of a subclass cannot directly access private members of their superclass. A subclass can change the state of private superclass instance variables only through non-private methods provided in the superclass and inherited by the subclass.
Software Engineering Observation 9.2
Declaring private instance variables helps programmers test, debug and correctly modify systems. If a subclass could access its superclass's private instance variables, classes that inherit from that subclass could access the instance variables as well. This would propagate access to what should be private instance variables, and the benefits of information hiding would be lost.
Introduction to Computers, the Internet and the World Wide Web
Introduction to Java Applications
Introduction to Classes and Objects
Control Statements: Part I
Control Statements: Part 2
Methods: A Deeper Look
Classes and Objects: A Deeper Look
Object-Oriented Programming: Inheritance
Object-Oriented Programming: Polymorphism
GUI Components: Part 1
Graphics and Java 2D™
Files and Streams
Searching and Sorting
Introduction to Java Applets
Multimedia: Applets and Applications
GUI Components: Part 2
Accessing Databases with JDBC
JavaServer Pages (JSP)
Strings, Characters and Regular Expressions
Appendix A. Operator Precedence Chart
Appendix B. ASCII Character Set
Appendix C. Keywords and Reserved Words
Appendix D. Primitive Types
Appendix E. (On CD) Number Systems
Appendix F. (On CD) Unicode®
Appendix G. Using the Java API Documentation
Appendix H. (On CD) Creating Documentation with javadoc
Appendix I. (On CD) Bit Manipulation
Appendix J. (On CD) ATM Case Study Code
Appendix K. (On CD) Labeled break and continue Statements
Appendix L. (On CD) UML 2: Additional Diagram Types
Appendix M. (On CD) Design Patterns
Appendix N. Using the Debugger
Inside Back Cover