Monday, 23 January 2012

Types of Softwares

Software, by definition, is the collection of computer programs, procedures and documentation that performs different tasks on a computer system. The term 'software' was first used by John Tukey in 1958. At the very basic level, computer software consists of a machine language that consists of groups of binary values, which specify processor instructions. The processor instructions change the state of computer hardware in a predefined sequence. Briefly, computer software is the language in which a computer speaks. There are different types of computer software. What are their types? Let us see.

Types of Software's

Computer software is a general term used to describe a collection of computer programs, procedures and documentation that perform some task on a computer system. The term includes application software such as word processors which perform productive tasks for users, system software such as operating systems, which interface with hardware to provide the necessary services for application software, and middle-ware which controls and co-ordinates distributed systems.

Practical computer systems divide software systems into three major classes: system software, programming software and application software, although the distinction is arbitrary, and often blurred. 

• System software helps run the computer hardware and computer system. It includes operating systems, device drivers, diagnostic tools, servers, windowing systems, utilities and more. The purpose of systems software is to insulate the applications programmer as much as possible from the details of the particular computer complex being used, especially memory and other hardware features, and such accessory devices as communications, printers, readers, displays, keyboards, etc. 

• Programming software usually provides tools to assist a programmer in writing computer programs and software using different programming languages in a more convenient way. The tools include text editors, compilers, interpreters, linkers, debuggers, and so on. An Integrated development environment (IDE) merges those tools into a software bundle, and a programmer may not need to type multiple commands for compiling, interpreter, debugging, tracing, and etc., because the IDE usually has an advanced graphical user interface, or GUI. 

• Application software allows end users to accomplish one or more specific (non-computer related) tasks. Typical applications include industrial automation, business software, educational software, medical software, databases, and computer games. Businesses are probably the biggest users of application software, but almost every field of human activity now uses some form of application software. It is used to automate all sorts of functions.

• System Software helps in running the computer hardware and the computer system. System software is a collection of operating systems; devise drivers, servers, windowing systems and utilities. System software helps an application programmer in abstracting away from hardware, memory and other internal complexities of a computer. 

• Application Software enables the end users to accomplish certain specific tasks. Business software, databases and educational software are some forms of application software. Different word processors, which are dedicated for specialized tasks to be performed by the user, are other examples of application software.

Apart from these three basic types of software, there are some other well-known forms of computer software like inventory management software, ERP, utility software, accounting software and others. Take a look at some of them.

• Inventory Management Software This type of software helps an organization in tracking its goods and materials on the basis of quality as well as quantity. Warehouse inventory management functions encompass the internal warehouse movements and storage. Inventory software helps a company in organizing inventory and optimizing the flow of goods in the organization, thus leading to an improved customer service.

• Utility Software is also known as service routine, utility software helps in the management of computer hardware and application software. It performs a small range of tasks. Disk defragmenters, systems utilities and virus scanners are some of the typical examples of utility software.

• Data Backup and Recovery Software is an ideal data backup and recovery software provides functionalities beyond simple copying of data files. This software often supports user needs of specifying what is to be backed up and when. Backup and recovery software preserve the original organization of files and allow an easy retrieval of the backed up data.

This was an overview of the major types of software. Computer software are widely popular today and hence we cannot imagine a world of computers without them. We would not have been able to use computers if not for the software. What is fascinating about the world of computers is that it has its own languages, its ways of communication with our human world and human interaction with the computers is possible, thanks to computer software. I wonder, if the word 'soft' in ‘software’ implies ‘soft-spokenness’, which is an important quality of a pleasant communication.


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