Composition and aggregation with QObject

Consider these rather simple relationships between classes

Continuing on this subject, here are some code examples.

Class1 & Class2: Composition
An instance of Class1 can not exist without an instance of Class2.

Example of composition is typically a Bicycle and its Wheels, Saddle and a HandleBar: without these the Bicycle is no longer a Bicycle but just a Frame.

It can no longer function as a Bicycle. Example of when you need to stop thinking about composition versus aggregation is whenever you say: without the other thing can’t in our software the first thing work.

Note that you must consider this in the context of Class1. You use aggregation or composition based on how Class2 exists in relation to Class1.

Class1 with QScopedPointer:

#ifndef CLASS1_H
#define CLASS1_H

#include <QObject>
#include <QScopedPointer>
#include <Class2.h>

class Class1: public QObject
{
    Q_PROPERTY( Class2* class2 READ class2 WRITE setClass2 NOTIFY class2Changed)
public:
    Class1( QObject *a_parent = nullptr )
        : QObject ( a_parent) {
        // Don't use QObject parenting on top here
        m_class2.reset (new Class2() );
    }
    Class2* class2() {
        return m_class2.data();
    }
    void setClass2 ( Class2 *a_class2 ) {
        Q_ASSERT (a_class2 != nullptr); // Composition can't set a nullptr!
        if ( m_class2.data() != a_class2 ) {
            m_class2.reset( a_class2 );
            emit class2Changed()
        }
    }
signals:
    void class2Changed();
private:
    QScopedPointer<Class2> m_class2;
};

#endif// CLASS1_H

Class1 with QObject parenting:

#ifndef CLASS1_H
#define CLASS1_H

#include <QObject>
#include <Class2.h>

class Class1: public QObject
{
    Q_PROPERTY( Class2* class2 READ class2 WRITE setClass2 NOTIFY class2Changed)
public:
    Class1( QObject *a_parent = nullptr )
        : QObject ( a_parent )
        , m_class2 ( nullptr ) {
        // Make sure to use QObject parenting here
        m_class2 = new Class2( this );
    }
    Class2* class2() {
        return m_class2;
    }
    void setClass2 ( Class2 *a_class2 ) {
         Q_ASSERT (a_class2 != nullptr); // Composition can't set a nullptr!
         if ( m_class2 != a_class2 ) {
             // Make sure to use QObject parenting here
             a_class2->setParent ( this );
             delete m_class2; // Composition can never be nullptr
             m_class2 = a_class2;
             emit class2Changed();
         }
    }
signals:
    void class2Changed();
private:
    Class2 *m_class2;
};

#endif// CLASS1_H

Class1 with RAII:

#ifndef CLASS1_H
#define CLASS1_H

#include <QObject>
#include <QScopedPointer>

#include <Class2.h>

class Class1: public QObject
{
    Q_PROPERTY( Class2* class2 READ class2 CONSTANT)
public:
    Class1( QObject *a_parent = nullptr )
        : QObject ( a_parent ) { }
    Class2* class2()
        { return &m_class2; }
private:
    Class2 m_class2;
};
#endif// CLASS1_H

Class3 & Class4: Aggregation

An instance of Class3 can exist without an instance of Class4. Example of composition is typically a Bicycle and its driver or passenger: without the Driver or Passenger it is still a Bicycle. It can function as a Bicycle.

Example of when you need to stop thinking about composition versus aggregation is whenever you say: without the other thing can in our software the first thing work.

Class3:

#ifndef CLASS3_H
#define CLASS3_H

#include <QObject>

#include <QPointer>
#include <Class4.h>

class Class3: public QObject
{
    Q_PROPERTY( Class4* class4 READ class4 WRITE setClass4 NOTIFY class4Changed)
public:
    Class3( QObject *a_parent = nullptr );
    Class4* class4() {
        return m_class4.data();
    }
    void setClass4 (Class4 *a_class4) {
         if ( m_class4 != a_class4 ) {
             m_class4 = a_class4;
             emit class4Changed();
         }
    }
signals:
    void class4Changed();
private:
    QPointer<Class4> m_class4;
};
#endif// CLASS3_H

Class5, Class6 & Class7: Shared composition
An instance of Class5 and-or an instance of Class6 can not exist without a instance of Class7 shared by Class5 and Class6. When one of Class5 or Class6 can and one can not exist without the shared instance, use QWeakPointer at that place.

Class5:

#ifndef CLASS5_H
#define CLASS5_H

#include <QObject>
#include <QSharedPointer>

#include <Class7.h>

class Class5: public QObject
{
    Q_PROPERTY( Class7* class7 READ class7 CONSTANT)
public:
    Class5( QObject *a_parent = nullptr, Class7 *a_class7 );
        : QObject ( a_parent )
        , m_class7 ( a_class7 ) { }
    Class7* class7()
        { return m_class7.data(); }
private:
    QSharedPointer<Class7> m_class7;
};

Class6:

#ifndef CLASS6_H
#define CLASS6_H

#include <QObject>
#include <QSharedPointer>

#include <Class7.h>

class Class6: public QObject
{
    Q_PROPERTY( Class7* class7 READ class7 CONSTANT)
public:
    Class6( QObject *a_parent = nullptr, Class7 *a_class7 )
        : QObject ( a_parent )
        , m_class7 ( a_class7 ) { }
    Class7* class7()
        { return m_class7.data(); }
private:
    QSharedPointer<Class7> m_class7;
};
#endif// CLASS6_H

Interfaces with QObject

FlyBehavior:

#ifndef FLYBEHAVIOR_H
#define FLYBEHAVIOR_H
#include <QObject>
// Don't inherit QObject here (you'll break multiple-implements)
class FlyBehavior {
    public:
        Q_INVOKABLE virtual void fly() = 0;
};
Q_DECLARE_INTERFACE(FlyBehavior , "be.codeminded.Flying.FlyBehavior /1.0") 
#endif// FLYBEHAVIOR_H

FlyWithWings:

#ifndef FLY_WITH_WINGS_H
#define FLY_WITH_WINGS_H
#include <QObject>  
#include <Flying/FlyBehavior.h>
// Do inherit QObject here (this is a concrete class)
class FlyWithWings: public QObject, public FlyBehavior
{
    Q_OBJECT
    Q_INTERFACES( FlyBehavior )
public:
    explicit FlyWithWings( QObject *a_parent = nullptr ): QObject ( *a_parent ) {}
    ~FlyWithWings() {}

    virtual void fly() Q_DECL_OVERRIDE;
}
#endif// FLY_WITH_WINGS_H

2 thoughts on “Composition and aggregation with QObject

    1. admin Post author

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