Software can be defined in the following ways:
Computer software, or just software, is an any set of machine-readable instructions that directs a computer’s processor to perform specific operations. It is a program that tells a computer what to do.
Software, is a collection of programs that includes some input and outputs interface.
Software is a data structure that enables the programs to adequately manipulate information.
Software is a general term. It can refer to all computer instructions in general or to any specific set of computer instructions.
It is inclusive of both machine instructions and source code (more human-understandable instructions that must be rendered into machine code by compilers or interpreters before being executed).
Types of software:
In most computer platforms, software can be grouped into two broad categories:
1.System software :
System software is a program that manages and supports the computer resources and operations of a computer system while it executes various tasks such as processing data and information, controlling hardware components, and allowing users to use application software.
That is, systems software functions as a bridge between computer system hardware and the application software. System software is made up of many control programs, including the operating system, communications software and database manager.
Systems software consists of three kinds of programs.
1.The system management programs
2.system support programs and
3.system development programs .
These are explained briefly here.
System Management Programs:
These are programs that manage the application software, computer hardware, and data resources of the computer system. These programs include operating systems, operating environment programs, database management programs, and telecommunications monitor programs. Among these, the most important system management programs are operating systems.
System Support Programs:
These are the programs that help the operations and management of a computer system. They provide a variety of support services to let the computer hardware and other system programs run efficiently. The major system support programs are system utility programs, system performance monitor programs, and system security monitor programs (virus checking programs).
System Development Programs:
These are programs that help users develop information system programs and prepare user programs for computer processing. These programs may analyze and design systems and program itself. The main system development programs are programming language translators, programming environment programs, computer-aided software engineering packages.
Example of system software:
- Operating Systems are the main examples for system software.Other system software are following:
- Microsoft Windows
- Mac OS X
- BIOS Software
- HD Sector Boot Software
- Device Driver Software i.e Graphics Drive etc
- Linker Software
- Assembler and Compiler Software
Application software :
Application software consists of programs that direct computers to perform specific information processing activities for end users. These programs are called application packages because they direct the processing required for a particular use, or application, which users want to accomplish. Thousands of application packages are available because there are thousands of different jobs end users want computers to do.
Different Types of Application Software:
Word Processing Software:
This software enables users to create and edit documents. The most popular examples of this type of software are MS-Word, Word Pad and Notepad among other text editors.
Database is a structured collection of data. Database software allows users to store and retrieve data from databases. Examples are Oracle, MSAccess, etc.
Spreadsheet Software: Excel, Lotus 1-2-3 and Apple Numbers are some examples of spreadsheet software. Spreadsheet software allows users to perform calculations using spreadsheets.
They allow users to create and play audio and video files. They are capable of playing media files. Audio converters, audio players, burners, video encoders and decoders are some forms of multimedia software. Example: Real Player and Media Player.
The software that is used to display information in the form of a slide show is known as presentation software. Microsoft PowerPoint is the best example of presentation software.
It deals with the needs of organization processes and data flow. Customer relationship management or the financial processes in an organization are carried out with the help of enterprise software.
It has the capabilities of running tests and tracking progress. It is often used in teaching and self-learning. Dictionaries like Britannica and Encarta, mathematical software like Mat lab and others like Google Earth and NASA World Wind are some of the well-known names in this category.
Used to simulate physical or abstract systems, simulation software finds applications in both, research and entertainment. Flight simulators and scientific simulators are examples of simulation software.
Content Access Software:
It is used to access content without editing. Common examples of content access software are web browsers and media players.
An application suite is an important type of application software. It consists of a group of applications combined to perform related functions. Open Office.org and Microsoft Office are the best examples of this type of application software.
Information Worker Software:
Individual projects within a department and individual needs of creation and management of information are handled by information worker software. Documentation tools, resource management tools and personal management systems fall under the category of this type of application software.