Software by definition is the collection of computer programs, procedures and documentation that perform different tasks on a computer system. The software is a program written by a programmer or software developer. The software is an intangible part of the computer system, though they come in CDs according to today’s standard. Software computer programs, instructions that cause the hardware and the machine to do work. Software as a whole can be divided into a number of categories based on the types of work done by programs. The two primary software categories are operating system (system software) which control the workings of the computer and application software which addresses the multitude tasks for which people uses computers. System software thus handles such essential but often invisible, chores as maintaining disk files and managing the screen, where as application software performs word processing, database management and the like. Two additional categories that are neither system nor application software, although they contain elements of both, are network software, which enables groups of computers to communicate and language software which provides programmers with the tools they need to write programs.
System software – is a computer software designed to operate the computer hardware and to provide and maintain a platform for running application software. It includes a combination of the following:
- Operating system – am operating system (OS) is a software consisting of programs and data that runs on computers, manages computer hardware resources and provides common services for execution of various application software. Types of OS are: Graphical User Interface, Command Based, Single User, Multi-User and Network Operating System, etc.
- Utility software – utility softwares are used for general house-keeping functions of the computer such as backing up files, repairing the computer, copying, sorting and printing of data.
- Language translator – a language translator is a software that convert programs written in a source code into an object code that a computer understand. Such as Assemblers, Compilers and Interpreters.
Application software – also known as software application or app, is a computer software designed to help the user to perform a single or multiple related specific tasks. Some examples of this category of software are:
- Business software, e.g. SAP.
- Computer-aided design, e.g. CorelDraw.
- Database, e.g. Microsoft Access.
- Decision making software, e.g. Microsoft Project.
- Educational software, e.g. Microsoft Encarta.
- Image editing, e.g. Adobe Photoshop.
- Mathematical software, e.g. System calculator.
- Word processors like MS Word.
- Spreadsheets like MS Excel
- Media players and database application.
There are two basic types of application software as follows :
User application software – user application software is designed to meet the needs of specific users. The software may be written for the user within an organisation or contracted to external programmers. This type of software is often referred to as tailor-made / purpose-written or bespoke application software.
Application packages – these are commercialised software designed to perform various categories of user functions. Application package can be classified into two:
- Application specific – these application packages are programs designed to carry out a specialised task.
- General purpose – general purpose application packages are designed to provide users with general set of facilities to handle a wide variety of problems.
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