From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2010)|
Application software, also known as an application or an app, is computer software designed to help the user to perform specific tasks. Examples include enterprise software, accounting software, office suites, graphics software and media players. Many application programs deal principally with documents. Applications may be bundled with the computer and its system software, or may be published separately. In recent years, the abbreviation "app" has specifically come to mean application software written for mobile devices, with the abbreviation in particular representing both the smaller size and smaller scope of the software (i.e. an app whose sole purpose is to display an image representation of the current weather). Apps for mobile devices are also an important way to deliver advertising to the user. Many websites encourage mobile users to download a free app version of the website so that they can receive cutdown advertising typically as a row along the bottom of the app as stock mobile web browsers often do not display the adverts available on full size websites.
Application software is contrasted with system software and middleware, which manage and integrate a computer's capabilities, but typically do not directly apply in the performance of tasks that benefit the user. The system software serves the application, which in turn serves the user.
Similar relationships apply in other fields. For example, a shopping mall does not provide the merchandise a shopper is seeking, but provides space and services for retailers that serve the shopper. A bridge may similarly support rail tracks which support trains, allowing the trains to transport passengers.
Application software applies the power of a particular computing platform or system software to a particular purpose. Some applications are available in versions for several different platforms; others have narrower requirements and are thus called, for example, a Geography application for Windows or an Android application for education or Linux gaming. Sometimes a new and popular application arises which only runs on one platform, increasing the desirability of that platform. This is called a killer application.
In information technology, an application is a computer program designed to help people perform an activity. An application thus differs from an operating system (which runs a computer), a utility (which performs maintenance or general-purpose chores), and a programming tools (with which computer programs are created). Depending on the activity for which it was designed, an application can manipulate text, numbers, graphics, or a combination of these elements. Some application packages offer considerable computing power by focusing on a single task, such as word processing; others, called integrated software, offer somewhat less power but include several applications. User-written software tailors systems to meet the user's specific needs. User-written software include spreadsheet templates, word processor macros, scientific simulations, graphics and animation scripts. Even email filters are a kind of user software. Users create this software themselves and often overlook how important it is.
The delineation between system software such as operating systems and application software is not exact, however, and is occasionally the object of controversy. For example, one of the key questions in the United States v. Microsoft antitrust trial was whether Microsoft's Internet Explorer web browser was part of its Windows operating system or a separable piece of application software. As another example, the GNU/Linux naming controversy is, in part, due to disagreement about the relationship between the Linux kernel and the operating systems built over this kernel. In some types of embedded systems, the application software and the operating system software may be indistinguishable to the user, as in the case of software used to control a VCR, DVD player or microwave oven. The above definitions may exclude some applications that may exist on some computers in large organizations. For an alternative definition of an app: see Application Portfolio Management.
In recent years, the term "app" has been used to exclusively refer to applications for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, referring to their smaller scope in relation to applications used by PCs.
Application software falls into two general categories; horizontal applications and vertical applications. Horizontal applications are the most popular and widespread in departments or companies. Vertical applications are niche products, designed for a particular type of business or division in a company.
There are many types of application software:
Applications can also be classified by computing platform such as a particular operating system, delivery network such as in cloud computing and Web 2.0 applications, or delivery devices such as mobile apps for mobile devices.
The operating system itself can be considered application software when performing simple calculating, measuring, rendering, and word processing tasks not used to control hardware via command-line interface or graphical user interface. This does not include application software bundled within operating systems such as a software calculator or text editor.
|Wikiversity has learning materials about Introduction_to_Computers/Application_software|