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Computer Applications in our Society

An application program (app or application for short) is a computer program, designed to perform a group of functions, tasks, or activities for the benefit of the user. Examples of these applications include a Microsoft word, a spreadsheet, a web browser, media players, an aeronautical flight simulator, games or a photo editor. These application software refers to all applications collectively. This contrasts with system softwares, which is mainly involved with running the computer.
There are many different ways to divide up different types of application software, and several are explained here. Since the development and near-universal adoption of the web, an important distinction that has emerged has been between web applications written with HTML, JavaScript and other web-native technologies and typically requiring one to be online and running a web browser, and the more traditional native applications written in whatever languages are available for one’s particular type of computer. There has been a contentious debate in the computing community regarding web applications replacing native applications for many purposes, especially on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Web apps have indeed greatly increased in popularity for some uses, but the advantages of applications make them unlikely to disappear soon, if ever. Furthermore, the two can be complementary, and even integrated.
Application software can also be seen as being either horizontal or vertical. Horizontal applications are more popular and widespread, because they are general purpose, for example word processors or databases. Vertical applications are niche products, designed for a particular type of industry or business, or department within an organization. Integrated suites of software will try to handle every specific aspect possible of, for example, manufacturing or banking worker, or accounting, or customer service.
There are many types of application software. An application suite consists of multiple applications bundled together. They usually have related functions, features and user interfaces, and may be able to interact with each other, e.g. open each other’s files. Business applications often come in suites, e.g. Microsoft Office, Liber Office and iWork, which bundle together a word processor, a spreadsheet, etc. Enterprise software addresses the needs of an entire organization’s processes and data flows, across several departments, often in a large distributed environment. Examples include enterprise resource planning systems, customer relationship management (CRM) systems and supply chain management software. Departmental Software is a sub-type of enterprise software with a focus on smaller organizations or groups within a large organization. Enterprise infrastructure software provides common capabilities needed to support enterprise software systems. Information worker software lets users create and manage information, often for individual projects within a department, in contrast to enterprise management. Examples include time management, resource management, analytical, collaborative and documentation tools. Word processors, spreadsheets, email and blog clients, personal information system, and individual media editors may aid in multiple information worker tasks. Content access software is used primarily to access content without editing, but may include software that allows for content editing. Such software addresses the needs of individuals and groups to consume digital entertainment and published digital content. Educational software is related to content access software, but has the content or features adapted for use in by students. For example, it may deliver evaluations (tests), track progress through material, or include high capabilities. Simulation software simulates physical or abstract systems for either research, training or entertainment purposes. Media development software generates print and electronic media for others to consume, most often in a commercial or educational setting. This includes graphic art software, desktop publishing software, multimedia development software, digital-animation editors, digital audio and video composition, and many others. Product engineering software is used in developing hardware and software products. This includes computer aided design (CAD), computer aided engineering (CAE), computer language editing and compiling tools, integrated development environments, and application programmer interfaces. Entertainment Software can refer to video games, screen savers, programs to display motion pictures or play recorded music, and other forms of entertainment which can be experienced through use of a computing device. Applications can also be classified by computing platform such as a particular operating system, 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.

by: Hamza Sattar

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