Computer software is a computer program which is a sequence of instructions designed to direct a computer to perform a certain task. Software is an interface between user and computer system. It is mainly responsible for controlling, integrating and managing the hardware components of a computer system and for accomplishing a specific task. Different software’s are used to solve a different kind of problems.
- System software
- Application software
System software consists of several programs, which are responsible for controlling, integrating and managing the individual hardware components of a system. The system software is generally prepared by computer manufacturers. These software programs are written in low-level languages, which interact with the hardware at a very basic level. The system software serves as the interface between the hardware and the users. It enables application programs to execute properly. It consists of three basic operations as follows:
- Saving data on disk
- Making a computer to work for us
- Printing a document etc
eg: Operating system
Operating System: An OS is a collection of software that manages computer hardware resources and provides common services for computer programs.
The Operating system is a vital component of the system software in a computer system.
Application programs usually require an Operating System to function.
Application software is specific purpose software which is used by user for performing specific task. It includes set of programs that do real work for users. There are two types of application software.
1. General Purpose Software:
These are designed to perform a general task. Examples are:
Word Processing Software: Enables users to create, edit, format and edit text documents such as letters. Example: Microsoft Word, Open Office etc.
Presentation Software: Those softwares are used for Practice of showing and explaining the contents of a topic to an audience or learner visually. Example: Microsoft PowerPoint, Corel Presentation etc.
Electronic Spreadsheet Software: Enables users to manipulate a table of data usually making numerical and business calculations and projections. Examples: Microsoft Excel, Corel Quattro Pro, Lotus 1-2-3 etc.
DBMS Software: Database management software Enables users to create and maintain a database in which data is organized for ease of use and manipulation. Example: Access, SQL Server, MySQL etc.
Desktop Publishing Software: These are the tool for graphic designers and non-designers to create visual communications for professional or desktop printing as well as for online or on-screen electronic publishing. Example: Quark Express, Adobe Page Maker etc.
Graphics Software: Enables a person to manipulate visual images on a computer system. Example: Adobe Photoshop etc.
Multimedia software: Multimedia software includes a combination of text, audio, still images, animation, video or interactivity content forms.
2. Specific purpose software:
- Inventory Management System and Purchasing System An attempt to balance inventory needs and a requirement to minimize total cost, resulting from obtaining and holding an inventory.
- Payroll Management System Enable organization to encompass every employe of the organization who receives a regular wage or other compensation.
- Hotel Management System
- Reservation System
difference between system software and application software:
|System software||Application software|
|The system software is used for operating computer hardware.||Application software is used by user to perform specific task.|
|System software are installed on the computer when operating system is installed||Application software are installed according to user’s requirements.|
|In general, the user does not interact with system software because it works in the background.||In general, the user interacts with application sofwares.|
|System software can run independently. It provides a platform for running application software.||Application software can’t run independently. They can’t run without the presence of system software.|
|Some examples of system softwares are compiler, assembler, debugger, driver, etc.||Some examples of application softwares are word processor, web browser, media player, etc.|
General software features and recent trends:
Features of a good computer program
- Portability: A program should be supported by many computers. The program should compile and run smoothly on different platforms.
- Maintainability: It is the process of fixing program errors and improving the program. If a program is easy to read and understand, then its maintenance will be easier.
- Efficient: Program is said to be more efficient if it takes less space and easily converted to machine language.
- Reliability: The user’s actual needs will change from time to time, so the program is said to be reliable if it works smoothly in every version.
- Machine Independent: Program should be machine independent. Program written on one system should be able to execute on any other without any changes.
- Cost Effectiveness: Cost-effectiveness is the key to measure program quality. The cost must be measured over the life of the program and must include both cost and human cost of producing these programs.
- Flexible: Program should be written in such a manner that it allows adding new features without changing the existing modules.
- Interoperability: The ability of software to exchange information with the other applications. With the help of these characteristics, the use of information can be made transparent.
- Correctness: Every program should meet all specifications expected by the users.
- Reusability: The software can be called reusable if the users will have the ability to use the software code with some modification for different purposes. More complex software can be developed in a short span of time by reusing the existing software.
- Security: In recent times, security threats have increased over the internet. As a result of which, this factor has become extremely important. There should be a proper measure taken while developing software due to which user’s data can be kept safe from threats.