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Using Heterogeneous Class Hierarchies

Interfaces Based on Heterogeneous Arrays

A heterogeneous class hierarchy lets you create arrays containing objects of different classes that are related though inheritance. You can define class methods that operate on these heterogeneous arrays as a whole.

A class design based on heterogeneous arrays provides a more convenient interface than, for example, extracting elements from a cell array and operating on these elements individually. For more information on the design of class hierarchies that support heterogeneous arrays, see Heterogeneous Arrays.

All heterogeneous hierarchies derive from matlab.mixin.Heterogeneous.

Define Heterogeneous Hierarchy

    Note:   This example does not use valid terminology or techniques for managing financial assets. The purpose of this example is only to illustrate techniques for defining heterogeneous class hierarchies.

This example implements a system of classes to represent financial assets, such as stocks, bonds, and cash. Classes to represent categories of assets have certain common requirements. Each instance has one of the following:

  • Textual description

  • Type (stock, bond, or cash)

  • Means to determine the current value of the asset

Heterogeneous arrays of these objects need methods that can operate on the whole array. These operations include:

  • Creating a table of information about all assets contained in the array

  • Graphing the relative contribution of each asset type contained in the array

These requirements are factored into the class that is the root of the hierarchy. The root class derives from matlab.mixin.Heterogeneous. In the following diagram, the Assets class is the root of the hierarchy. The Stocks, Bonds, and Cash classes provide the specialization required for each type of asset.

Assets Class

The Assets class:

  • Derives directly from matlab.mixin.Heterogeneous

  • Is the root of the heterogeneous hierarchy

  • Is abstract

  • Is the class of heterogeneous arrays composed of any mixture of Stock, Bond, and Cash objects

Properties

The Assets class defines two properties:

  • Description — A general description of the individual asset constrained to be of class char.

  • Type — The type of asset defined as an abstract property that each subclass implements.

Methods

The Assets class defines these methods:

  • pie — A sealed method that creates a pie chart showing the relative mix of asset types.

  • makeReport — A sealed method that creates a report listing the assets.

  • getCurrentValue — An abstract method that each concrete subclass must implement to return the current value of the asset.

  • getDefaultScalarElementmatlab.mixin.Heterogeneous class method overridden in the Assets class to specify a default object. The Assets class is abstract so it cannot be used as the default object. For more information, see Default Object.

Methods in Heterogeneous Hierarchies

Methods defined by the Assets class are either:

  • Concrete methods (fully implemented) that subclasses do not override

  • Abstract methods (signatures only) that subclasses implement

Concrete methods defined by superclasses in a heterogeneous hierarchy must specify the Sealed attribute. Sealing these methods prevents subclasses from overriding methods implemented by the superclass. When calling methods on a heterogeneous array, MATLAB® calls the methods defined by the class of the array (Assets in this example).

The pie and makeReport methods are examples of sealed methods that operate on heterogeneous arrays composed of Stock, Bond, and Cash objects.

Abstract methods defined by the superclasses in a heterogeneous hierarchy must specify the Abstract attribute. Defining an abstract method in a superclass ensures that concrete subclasses have an implementation for that exact method name. Use these methods element-wise so that each object calls its own method.

The getCurrentValue method is an example of an abstract method that is implemented by each subclass to get the current value of each asset.

Each type of subclass object calculates its current value in a different way. If you add another category of asset by adding another subclass to the hierarchy, this class must implement its own version of a getCurrentValue method. Because all subclasses implement a getCurrentValue method, the pie and makeReport methods work with newly added subclasses.

For more information on the Sealed and Abstract method attributes, see Method Attributes.

Assets Class Code

The Assets class and other classes in the hierarchy are contained in a package called financial.

classdef  Assets < matlab.mixin.Heterogeneous
   % file: +financial.@Assets/Assets.m
   properties
      Description char = 'Assets'
   end
   properties (Abstract, SetAccess = private)
      Type
   end
   methods (Abstract)
      % Not implemented by Assets class
      value = getCurrentValue(obj)
   end
   methods (Static, Sealed, Access = protected)
      function defaultObject = getDefaultScalarElement
         defaultObject = financial.DefaultAsset;
      end
   end
   methods (Sealed)
      % Implemented in separate files
      % +financial.@Assets/pie.m
      % +financial.@Assets/makeReport.m
      pie(assetArray)
      makeReport(assetArray)
   end
end

For code listings for pie and makeReport, see Operating on an Assets Array.

Stocks Class

The Stocks class represents a specific type of financial asset. It is a concrete class that implements the abstract members defined by the Assets class, and defines class properties and methods specific to this type of asset.

Properties

The Stocks class defines these properties:

  • NumShares — The number of shares held for this asset.

  • Symbol — The ticker symbol corresponding to this stock.

  • TypeStocks class implementation of the abstract property defined by the Assets class. This concrete property must use the same attributes as the abstract version (that is, SetAccess private).

  • SharePrice — Dependent property for the price per share. The get.SharePrice method obtains the current share price from web services when this property is queried.

Methods

The Stocks class defines these methods:

  • Stocks — The constructor assigns property values and supports a default constructor called with no input arguments.

  • getCurrentValue — This method is the Stocks class implementation of the abstract method defined by the Assets class. It returns the current value of this asset.

  • get.SharePrice — The property get method for the dependent SharePrice property returns the current share price of this stock. For information on how to access web services from MATLAB, see the webread function.

Stocks Class Code

classdef Stocks < financial.Assets
   properties
      NumShares double = 0
      Symbol string
   end
   properties (SetAccess = private)
      Type = "Stocks"
   end
   properties (Dependent)
      SharePrice double
   end
   methods
      function sk = Stocks(description,numshares,symbol)
         if nargin == 0
            description = '';
            numshares = 0;
            symbol = '';
         end
         sk.Description = description;
         sk.NumShares = numshares;
         sk.Symbol = symbol;
      end
      function value = getCurrentValue(sk)
         value = sk.NumShares*sk.SharePrice;
      end
      function pps = get.SharePrice(sk)
         % Implement web access to obtain
         % Current price per share
         % Returning dummy value
         pps = 1;
      end
   end
end

Bonds Class

The Bonds class represents a specific type of financial asset. It is a concrete class that implements the abstract members defined by the Assets class and defines class properties and methods specific to this type of asset.

Properties

The Bonds class defines these properties:

  • FaceValue — Face value of the bond.

  • Yield — Annual interest rate of the bond.

  • TypeBonds class implementation of the abstract property defined by the Assets class. This concrete property must use the same attributes as the abstract version (that is, SetAccess private).

  • CurrentYield — Dependent property for the current yield, The get.CurrentYield property get method obtains the value from web services.

Methods

The Bonds class defines these methods:

  • Bonds — The constructor assigns property values and supports a default constructor called with no input arguments.

  • getCurrentVlaue — This method is the Bonds class implementation of the abstract method defined by the Assets class. It returns the current value of this asset.

  • get.CurrentYield — The property get method for the dependent CurrentYield property returns the current yield on this bond. For information on how to access web serviced from MATLAB, see the webread function.

Bonds Class Code

classdef Bonds < financial.Assets
   properties
      FaceValue double = 0
      Yield double = 0
   end
   properties (SetAccess = private)
      Type = "Bonds"
   end
   properties (Dependent)
      CurrentYield double = 0
   end
   methods
      function b = Bonds(description,facevalue,yield)
         if nargin == 0
            description = '';
            facevalue = 0;
            yield = 0;
         end
         b.Description = description;
         b.FaceValue = facevalue;
         b.Yield = yield;
         b.Type = AssetTypes.Bonds;
      end
      function mv = getCurrentValue(b)
         y = b.Yield;
         cy = b.CurrentYield;
         if cy <= 0 || y <= 0
            mv = b.FaceValue;
         else
            mv = b.FaceValue*y/cy;
         end
      end
      function r = get.CurrentYield(b)
         % Implement web access to obtain
         % Current yield for this bond
         % Returning dummy value
         r = 0.24;
      end
   end
end

Cash Class

The Cash class represents a specific type of financial asset. It is a concrete class that implements the abstract members defined by the Assets class and defines class properties and methods specific to this type of asset.

Properties

The Cash class defines these properties:

  • Amount — The amount of cash held in this asset.

  • TypeCash class implementation of the abstract property defined by the Assets class. This concrete property must use the same attributes as the abstract version (that is, SetAccess private).

Methods

The Cash class defines these methods:

  • Cash — The constructor assigns property values and supports a default constructor called with no input arguments.

  • getCurrentValue — This method is the Cash class implementation of the abstract method defined by the Assets class. It returns the current value of this asset.

  • save — This method adds the specified amount of cash to the existing amount and returns a new Cash object with the current amount.

  • spend — This method deducts the specified amount from the current amount and returns a new Cash object with the current amount.

Cash Class Code

classdef Cash < financial.Assets
   properties
      Amount double = 0
   end
   properties (SetAccess = private)
      Type = "Cash"
   end
   methods
      function c = Cash(description,amount)
         if nargin == 0
            description = '';
            amount = 0;
         end
         c.Description = description;
         c.Amount = amount;
      end
      function value = getCurrentValue(c)
         value = c.Amount;
      end
      function c = save(c,amount)
         newValue = c.Amount + amount;
         c.Amount = newValue;
      end
      function c = spend(c,amount)
         newValue = c.Amount - amount;
         if newValue < 0
            c.Amount = 0;
            disp('Your balance is $0.00')
         else
            c.Amount = newValue;
         end
      end
   end
end

Default Object

The design of this class hierarchy uses an abstract root class (Assets). Therefore, the Assets class must specify a concrete class to use as a default object by overriding getDefaultScalarElement. In this case, options include:

  • Use one of the existing concrete classes for the default object.

  • Define a concrete class in the hierarchy to use for the default object.

This implementation adds the DefaultAsset class to the hierarchy as a subclass of the Assets class. MATLAB creates objects of this class when:

  • Creating arrays using indexed assignment with gaps in index numbers

  • Loading heterogeneous arrays from MAT-files when MATLAB cannot find the class of an array element.

This diagram shows the addition of the DefaultAsset class:

DefaultAsset Class Code

classdef DefaultAsset < financial.Assets
   % file: +financial.@DefaultAsset/DefaultAsset.m
   properties (SetAccess = private)
      Type = "DefaultAsset"
   end
   methods
      function obj = DefaultAsset
         obj.Description = 'Place holder';
      end
      function value = getCurrentValue(~)
         value = 0;
      end
   end
end

Operating on an Assets Array

The Assets class defines these methods to operate on heterogeneous arrays of asset objects:

  • pie — Creates a pie chart showing the mix of asset types in the array.

  • makeReport — Uses the MATLAB table object to display a table of asset information.

To operate on a heterogeneous array, a method must be defined for the class of the heterogeneous array and must be sealed. In this case, the class of heterogeneous arrays is always the Assets class. MATLAB does not use the class of the individual elements of the heterogeneous array when dispatching to methods.

makeReport Method Code

The Assets class makeReport method builds a table using the common properties and getCurrentValue method for each object in the array.

function makeReport(obj)
   numMembers = length(obj);
   descs = cell(1,numMembers);
   types(numMembers) = "";
   values(numMembers) = 0;
   for k = 1:numMembers
      descs{k} = obj(k).Description;
      types(k) = obj(k).Type;
      values(k) = obj(k).getCurrentValue;
   end
   t = table;
   t.Description = descs';
   t.Type = types';
   t.Value = values';
   disp(t)
end

The Assets class pie method calls the getCurrentValue method element-wise on objects in the array to obtain the data for the pie chart.

pie Method Code

function pie(assetArray)
   stockAmt = 0; bondAmt = 0; cashAmt = 0;
   for k=1:length(assetArray)
      if isa(assetArray(k),'financial.Stocks')
         stockAmt = stockAmt + assetArray(k).getCurrentValue;
      elseif isa(assetArray(k),'financial.Bonds')
         bondAmt = bondAmt + assetArray(k).getCurrentValue;
      elseif isa(assetArray(k),'financial.Cash')
         cashAmt = cashAmt + assetArray(k).getCurrentValue;
      end
   end
   k = 1;
   if stockAmt ~= 0
      label(k) = {'Stocks'};
      pieVector(k) = stockAmt;
      k = k +1;
   end
   if bondAmt ~= 0
      label(k) = {'Bonds'};
      pieVector(k) = bondAmt;
      k = k +1;
   end
   if cashAmt ~= 0
      label(k) = {'Cash'};
      pieVector(k) = cashAmt;
   end
   pie(pieVector,label)
   tv = stockAmt + bondAmt + cashAmt;
   stg = {['Total Value of Assets: $',num2str(tv,'%0.2f')]};
   title(stg,'FontSize',10)
end

Create an Assets Array

These statements create a heterogeneous array by concatenating the Stocks, Bonds, and Cash objects. Calling the makeReport and pie methods creates the output shown.

s = financial.Stocks('Acme Motor Company',100,string('A'));
b = financial.Bonds('3 Month T',700,0.3);
c(1) = financial.Cash('Bank Account',500);
c(2) = financial.Cash('Gold',500);
assetArray  = [s,b,c];
makeReport(assetArray)
pie(assetArray)
       Description          Type     Value 
    ____________________    ______    ______

    'Acme Motor Company'    Stocks    1232.5
    '3 Month T'             Bonds     807.69
    'Bank Account'          Cash         500
    'Gold'                  Cash         500

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