SOLID: Liskov’s Substitution Principle

Liskov’s Substitution Principle

Previous Principle: Open Close Principle

Let q(x) be a property provable about objects of x of type T. Then q(y) should be provable for objects y of type S where S is a subtype of T.

All it is saying that, Any method which is using a reference of base class can use any child class object without knowing it.


In other words, A subclass should override the methods of parent class in such way that does not break the functionality from a client point of view.


If a method is using the Base class then the reference to the Base class can be replaced with a Derived class without affecting the functionality of the method.

A classic problem of Likov’s Substitution Principle is Rectangle and Square, as we know a Square is-a Rectangle so we will try to establish an IS-A relationship using inheritance like below:

Now let’s assume we have a client method calculateArea which takes Rectangle as parameter and have test cases based on Rectangle class like following.

What will happen if we pass a Square object to this method? The test case will fail as it will give us an output 9 for Square. So here the Likov’s Substitution Principle violates.

So here cannot be an is-a relationship between Square and Rectangle. What is the problem with is-a relationship here?

  1. Square doesn’t need Height and Breadth, as the sides of Square are equal so it is a wastage of memory.
  2. To work appropriately the client (In this case calculateArea method) need to know the details of derive class Square, for this we have to change the client code which breaks the Open Close Principle.

So this principle make sure that new Derive classes are extending the Base class without changing their behaviour.

Next: Interface Segregation Principle

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