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Using classes to build new classes is supported by Octave through the use of both inheritance and aggregation.

Class inheritance is provided by Octave using the `class`

function in the
class constructor. As in the case of the polynomial class, the Octave
programmer will create a structure that contains the data fields required by
the class, and then call the `class`

function to indicate that an object
is to be created from the structure. Creating a child of an existing object is
done by creating an object of the parent class and providing that object as the
third argument of the class function.

This is most easily demonstrated by example. Suppose the programmer needs a FIR filter, i.e., a filter with a numerator polynomial but a denominator of 1. In traditional Octave programming this would be performed as follows.

octave:1> x = [some data vector]; octave:2> n = [some coefficient vector]; octave:3> y = filter (n, 1, x);

The equivalent behavior can be implemented as a class @FIRfilter. The
constructor for this class is the file `FIRfilter.m` in the class
directory `@FIRfilter`.

## -*- texinfo -*- ## @deftypefn {} {} FIRfilter () ## @deftypefnx {} {} FIRfilter (@var{p}) ## Create a FIR filter with polynomial @var{p} as coefficient vector. ## @end deftypefn function f = FIRfilter (p) if (nargin > 1) print_usage (); endif if (nargin == 0) p = @polynomial ([1]); elseif (! isa (p, "polynomial")) error ("@FIRfilter: P must be a polynomial object"); endif f.polynomial = []; f = class (f, "FIRfilter", p); endfunction

As before, the leading comments provide documentation for the class
constructor. This constructor is very similar to the polynomial class
constructor, except that a polynomial object is passed as the third argument to
the `class`

function, telling Octave that the FIRfilter class will be
derived from the polynomial class. The FIR filter class itself does not have
any data fields, but it must provide a struct to the `class`

function.
Given that the @polynomial constructor will add an element named
`polynomial` to the object struct, the @FIRfilter just initializes a
struct with a dummy field `polynomial` which will later be overwritten.

Note that the sample code always provides for the case in which no arguments are supplied. This is important because Octave will call a constructor with no arguments when loading objects from saved files in order to determine the inheritance structure.

A class may be a child of more than one class (see class), and inheritance may be nested. There is no limitation to the number of parents or the level of nesting other than memory or other physical issues.

As before, a class requires a `display`

method. A simple example might be

function display (f) printf ("%s.polynomial", inputname (1)); display (f.polynomial); endfunction

Note that the FIRfilter’s display method relies on the display method from the polynomial class to actually display the filter coefficients.

Once a constructor and display method exist, it is possible to create an instance of the class. It is also possible to check the class type and examine the underlying structure.

octave:1> f = FIRfilter (polynomial ([1 1 1]/3)) f.polynomial = 0.33333 + 0.33333 * X + 0.33333 * X ^ 2 octave:2> class (f) ans = FIRfilter octave:3> isa (f, "FIRfilter") ans = 1 octave:4> isa (f, "polynomial") ans = 1 octave:5> struct (f) ans = scalar structure containing the fields: polynomial = 0.33333 + 0.33333 * X + 0.33333 * X ^ 2

The only thing remaining to make this class usable is a method for processing
data. But before that, it is usually desirable to also have a way of changing
the data stored in a class. Since the fields in the underlying struct are
private by default, it is necessary to provide a mechanism to access the
fields. The `subsref`

method may be used for both tasks.

function r = subsref (f, x) switch (x.type) case "()" n = f.polynomial; r = filter (n.poly, 1, x.subs{1}); case "." fld = x.subs; if (! strcmp (fld, "polynomial")) error ('@FIRfilter/subsref: invalid property "%s"', fld); endif r = f.polynomial; otherwise error ("@FIRfilter/subsref: invalid subscript type for FIR filter"); endswitch endfunction

The `"()"`

case allows us to filter data using the polynomial provided
to the constructor.

octave:2> f = FIRfilter (polynomial ([1 1 1]/3)); octave:3> x = ones (5,1); octave:4> y = f(x) y = 0.33333 0.66667 1.00000 1.00000 1.00000

The `"."`

case allows us to view the contents of the polynomial field.

octave:1> f = FIRfilter (polynomial ([1 1 1]/3)); octave:2> f.polynomial ans = 0.33333 + 0.33333 * X + 0.33333 * X ^ 2

In order to change the contents of the object a `subsasgn`

method is
needed. For example, the following code makes the polynomial field publicly
writable

function fout = subsasgn (f, index, val) switch (index.type) case "." fld = index.subs; if (! strcmp (fld, "polynomial")) error ('@FIRfilter/subsasgn: invalid property "%s"', fld); endif fout = f; fout.polynomial = val; otherwise error ("@FIRfilter/subsasgn: Invalid index type") endswitch endfunction

so that

octave:1> f = FIRfilter (); octave:2> f.polynomial = polynomial ([1 2 3]) f.polynomial = 1 + 2 * X + 3 * X ^ 2

Defining the FIRfilter class as a child of the polynomial class implies that a FIRfilter object may be used any place that a polynomial object may be used. This is not a normal use of a filter. It may be a more sensible design approach to use aggregation rather than inheritance. In this case, the polynomial is simply a field in the class structure. A class constructor for the aggregation case might be

## -*- texinfo -*- ## @deftypefn {} {} FIRfilter () ## @deftypefnx {} {} FIRfilter (@var{p}) ## Create a FIR filter with polynomial @var{p} as coefficient vector. ## @end deftypefn function f = FIRfilter (p) if (nargin > 1) print_usage (); endif if (nargin == 0) f.polynomial = @polynomial ([1]); else if (! isa (p, "polynomial")) error ("@FIRfilter: P must be a polynomial object"); endif f.polynomial = p; endif f = class (f, "FIRfilter"); endfunction

For this example only the constructor needs changing, and all other class methods stay the same.