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Ad-hoc Polymorphism in Java

Java is a versatile and widely used programming language that provides a variety of features that support polymorphism. Polymorphism, a key concept in object-oriented design, allows us to write code that can work with different objects easily and conveniently Ad-hoc polymorphism in Java is an important part of polymorphism that plays an important role in creating an exceeding and in type conversion. In this section, we will explore ad hoc polymorphism, how it is achieved in Java, and how to use it properly.


Polymorphism is a concept that allows different entities to behave as instances of a common base class. It allows us to write code that can execute on objects in derived classes without knowing their exact types. Polymorphism in Java is primarily achieved through inheritance, interfaces, and method overrides. However, ad-hoc polymorphism extends this concept to allows us to use methods with the same name but different values, thus providing greater versatility and flexibility in the code

Ad-hoc Polymorphism

An overriding method is a prime example of ad-hoc polymorphism in Java. In other words, it occurs when a method or operator is applicable to different types. It allows us to define multiple methods in a class with the same name, but with different parameter lists. Java distinguishes these methods based on the number or type of arguments, allowing us to create more transparent and user-friendly APIs.

We look at three kinds of ad-hoc polymorphism:

  • Overloading of Methods
  • Overloading of Operator +
  • Autoboxing / Unboxing

Let's consider a simple example of method overloading in Java:

In this code, we have two add methods with different parameter types: one for int and another for double. When we call add on an instance of the Calculator class, Java determines the appropriate method to invoke based on the argument types. It allows us to write more readable and intuitive code.

Type Conversion and Ad-hoc Polymorphism

Java also uses ad-hoc polymorphism to perform implicit type conversions to match the most suitable method. Consider the following example:



In this example, when we call demo.add(x, y), Java finds that the parameters do not exactly match the signature of any method. However, it can explicitly convert types and call methods that accept int and double. This is another example of ad-hoc polymorphism, where Java seamlessly modifies the given information to select the appropriate path.

Applications of Ad-hoc Polymorphism

Ad-hoc polymorphism in Java has useful applications in a variety of applications that includes:

  • Arithmetic Operations: Ad-hoc polymorphism simplifies the processing of methods for performing arithmetic operations, and allows us to use the same method names for operations on different data, such as add, subtract, multiply, and distribution
  • Conversion and Configuration: Ad-hoc polymorphism is convenient in the context of data conversion and configuration. For example, we can create options for dates or numbers, accepting different inputs.
  • API Design: It helps create a clear and intuitive API, making it easier for developers to understand and use your classes and libraries.
  • Overload for efficiency: Overloading to accept different logic types allows us to optimize for efficiency, avoiding unnecessary type conversions

Let's provide complete Java code for the example discussed in the section, including a simple program that demonstrates method overloading and type conversion.


Result of demo.add(x, y): 12.5

In this code, we have a TypeConversionDemo class with two overloaded add methods. In the main method, we create an instance of TypeConversionDemo, and then we call the add method with an int and a double as arguments. The second add method is selected because it can implicitly convert the int to a double, resulting in a sum of 12.5. The output confirms the result of this operations.


Ad hoc polymorphism, as implemented by way overload attribute changes, is a valuable feature of Java that enhances the flexibility and expressive power of the language It enables developers to code as it is simple and readable by the same method name for operations on different data. Understanding ad hoc polymorphism is essential to writing efficient and user-friendly Java code, and it is a basic concept that every Java programmer should understand.

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