In the realm of object-relational mapping (ORM), mapping strategies play a pivotal role in bridging the gap between object-oriented programming and relational databases. One such mapping strategy that stands out is inheritance mapping, which facilitates the representation of class hierarchies in a relational database schema. In this blog, we delve into the concept of inheritance mapping strategy, exploring its significance, implementation, and relevance in modern software development practices.

1. Understanding Inheritance Mapping Strategy

which of the following is an inheritance mapping strategy

Inheritance mapping strategy, also known as class table inheritance, is a technique used to map inheritance relationships from object-oriented programming languages, such as Java or C#, to relational database schemas. Inheritance, a fundamental concept in object-oriented design, allows classes to inherit attributes and behaviors from parent classes, forming hierarchical relationships. Inheritance mapping strategy aims to preserve these hierarchical relationships in the database schema, enabling the storage and retrieval of objects while maintaining their inheritance structure.

2. Implementation of Inheritance Mapping

which of the following is an inheritance mapping strategy

There are several approaches to implementing inheritance mapping, each with its own advantages and trade-offs:

  1. Single Table Inheritance (STI): In STI, all classes in the inheritance hierarchy are mapped to a single database table. Additional columns are added to accommodate attributes specific to each subclass, with null values used for attributes not applicable to certain subclasses. While STI simplifies querying and reduces database complexity, it can lead to sparse tables and performance issues with large hierarchies.
  2. Class Table Inheritance (CTI): CTI involves creating a separate table for each class in the inheritance hierarchy. Each table contains columns corresponding to attributes inherited from the parent class as well as class-specific attributes. While CTI avoids issues of sparse tables and allows for better normalization, it can result in more complex queries and joins.
  3. Concrete Table Inheritance (CTI): CTI combines aspects of both STI and CTI by mapping each concrete class to its own table, including both inherited and class-specific attributes. This approach offers a balance between simplicity and flexibility but may lead to redundancy and duplication of data.

3. Relevance in Modern Software Development

Inheritance mapping strategy remains relevant in modern software development practices, particularly in applications with complex domain models and inheritance hierarchies. By effectively mapping inheritance relationships to relational database schemas, developers can ensure data integrity, maintainability, and scalability of their applications. Moreover, inheritance mapping facilitates seamless integration between object-oriented code and relational databases, enabling developers to leverage the benefits of both paradigms without sacrificing performance or functionality.


Inheritance mapping strategy serves as a crucial component of object-relational mapping, allowing developers to seamlessly map inheritance relationships from object-oriented programming languages to relational database schemas. By choosing the appropriate mapping approach, whether it be single table inheritance, class table inheritance, or concrete table inheritance, developers can effectively represent class hierarchies in the database while preserving data integrity and optimizing performance. As software development practices continue to evolve, inheritance mapping strategy remains a valuable tool for building robust, scalable, and maintainable applications.