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A Definitive Guide To Types Of Software

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Wazobia Technologies

August 24, 2022

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INTRODUCTION 

Software is the driving force behind computers and mobile devices. The software communicates with the hardware to make it function.

Internet is the primary emphasis of modern coding. Web sites and web applications are prevalent, but are they the only kinds of software?

Software like Microsoft Word, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Reader, Google Chrome, Gmail, Powerpoint, VLC, and many other comparable programs are frequently used in our daily activities.

Of course, the list would never end if we sat down to enumerate all software examples. First, however, it is vital to understand their differences.

This article provides a tutorial for beginners on types of software and their functionalities and usefulness for your organisation.

Here is what we covered in this article:

  • What Is Software: The Definition

  • What Are The Types Of Software?

  • Application Software

  • Advantages Of Application Software

  • System Software

  • Advantages Of System Software

  • Other Types Of Software You Need To Know

  • How Does Software Work?

  • How To Maintain Software Quality

WHAT IS SOFTWARE: THE DEFINITION  

Software is a computer program that offers instructions and data to fulfil the user's demands.

It is an essential, unseen component of the machine that enables you to operate the computer the same way as a mouse, monitor, hard drive, and keyboard.

A software program is a collection of instructions, methods, modules, data, and documentation that enables a certain kind of computer operation. This set of instructions facilitates interaction between the user and the machine.

Over time, software programs have become increasingly complicated, enhancing software capability, accessibility, performance, and maintainability.

Today, software programs can perform infinite predefined jobs, making life easier while assisting businesses in expanding and interacting with clients flawlessly.

To pursue a profession in software programming, you must have an extensive understanding of computer programming, coding, software development, software testing, and software debugging.

In contrast to hardware, which refers to the physical system and components that execute the job, software refers to the logical design and features that perform the work.

WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF SOFTWARE?  

The software can be as simple as a single line of code or as extensive as the Windows operating system from Microsoft.

The software also interacts with other software to form a unified system.

As a result, your smartphone comprises thousands of software components designed to function together.

The size and scope of programming languages and styles vary. For example, the software that controls a modern microwave and the code that governs an Apple Mac are vastly dissimilar.

Majorly, there are two types of computer software:

  • Application Software

  • System Software

However, other types of computer software include: 

  • Firmware

  • Programming Software

  • Driver Software

  • Freeware

  • Shareware

  • Open Source Software

  • Closed Source Software

  • Utility Software

 

APPLICATION SOFTWARE

Application software is utilised the most by technology users. Software of this sort is an effective end-user program which aids in accomplishing tasks.

The following are the types of application software:

Database Software

This software enables the creation and management of databases. In addition, they assist users in organising their computer data.

Multimedia software

This software enables the user to play, generate, or record audio, picture, and video files. It can be used for graphic design, animation, picture editing, and video editing.

Word processors

This software assists the user in creating, storing, formatting, and printing documents.

Graphic software

This software enables the user to modify or edit visual images and data.

Web browsers

This software enables the user to search for information on the Internet.

Education and reference software

This software assists users in gaining knowledge and learning about a specific subject.

Sales and Marketing Software

Sales and marketing automation software help you scale your business by automating time-consuming and administrative sales and marketing procedures, including sending thousands of emails to clients or following up with hundreds of prospects.

Sales automation solutions assist salespeople in saving time by automating administrative processes in their sales process and doing tailored, large-scale outreach via emails, calls, SMS, and LinkedIn.

Content Access Software

Information access software helps consumers access web content and digital entertainment.

Accessible information isn't ordinarily editable, although specific software can help. 

Information worker software: Information worker software produces and handles data for individual tasks—documentation, time/resource management, analytical tools, etc. 

Enterprise software

Enterprise software may fulfil an organisation's needs, unlike information worker software. These are the firm's operational apps and programs.

Presentation Software

Presentation software, or the Presentation application, lets you show your ideas and thoughts visually.

You can develop your ideas with presentation software. It can produce professional and multimedia presentations.

For better understanding, let's look at examples of application software for specific tasks:

MS Excel: Using MS Excel, you may display and analyse data in various ways.

Photoshop: An Adobe product, Photoshop is a photo editing tool. Use it to improve, catalogue and share your photos.

Skype: Video chat, audio calls, and instant messaging are just some ways to use Skype.

Application software is often known as non-essential software.

They are installed and run on a computer according to the user's specifications. As a result, there is an abundance of application software that you can utilise to do various activities.

With technical advancements and the changing needs of users, the number of such applications continues to rise.

ADVANTAGES OF APPLICATION SOFTWARE  

  • Applications are the driving force behind our digital devices.
  • The solutions created by mobile app developers allow businesses to sell and market themselves online.
  • Financial applications govern the stock exchange. The banking system utilises software for money transfers and transaction logging.

SYSTEM SOFTWARE

System software is the program that oversees a computer's apps and hardware and operates them. In addition, it offers a platform for other software to operate on and regulates the activities of the computer hardware, making it a vital component of any computer program.

Microsoft Windows is a prominent example of system software. It operates in the background, offering fundamental features.

System software facilitates user, hardware, and application software interoperability and functionality. In addition, these forms of computer software provide an environment or platform for other programs and software to operate. For this reason, the system software is vital for managing the entire computer system.

Consider the following different types of system software:

Operating system (OS)

An operating system is a collation of software that provides general functions to programs that run on top of it.

An operating system provides the user with a graphical interface via which they may manage files and directories, among other activities.

Every technical gadget, be it a mobile phone or a laptop, requires an operating system to work. Different operating systems exist: distributed, real-time, single-user, mobile, and embedded.

Firmware

Firmware is system software stored on a computer's chipset or motherboard. Consequently, it is considered permanent unless it is updated using a firmware update system.

Firmware software offers crucial information about how a device interacts with other hardware, ensuring that the gadget functions directly.

For instance, when you switch on your computer, the BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) wakes up all the components.

Before handing over control to software such as Windows 10, the firmware analyses disks for defects. It determines whether the operating system is present.

Additional instances of firmware include:

  • Accessories for computers

  • Consumer UEFI Applications

Device drivers

Device drives are pieces of software that control specific devices and peripherals. They collect information from the operating system and provide these instructions to the hardware platform for it to do the predefined task. It is essential to know that specific gear, such as sound cards, printers, mice, and keyboards, require drivers to function.

If you install the incorrect software or driver for a device, it will not function properly. Modern computers automatically install and manage drivers, ensuring that your computer has the necessary driver software to work and perform properly.

These are typical examples of driver software:

  • USB drivers

  • Printer drivers

  • Drivers for motherboard

  • BIOS driver

  • Driver for sound card

ADVANTAGES OF SYSTEM SOFTWARE  

Businesses can now develop their operating systems, and this is due to open-source system software.

OTHER TYPES OF SOFTWARE YOU NEED TO KNOW  

As we earlier highlighted in this article, there are other types of software apart from the major ones.

We will discuss those types of computer software in this article section.

PROGRAMMING SOFTWARE   

Programming software is a type of software that end users do not utilise. Programming software examples are programs used to write, develop, test, and debug other software, including apps and system software.

This software helps developers and programmers design, debug, and maintain other software programs and applications.

This form of software makes life easier and more productive for a person who works at a custom software development company.

Programming software is utilised as translator programs by software developers.

They are facilitator software that translates programming languages (e.g., Java, C++, Python, PHP, BASIC, etc.) into machine language code.

Compilers, interpreters, and assemblers can all function as translators.

Compilers are programs that transform the entire source code into machine code and then execute it.

Interpreters perform the program's source code line by line. Moreover, assemblers convert assembly code into machine code, representing the fundamental computer commands.

Editors, debuggers, compilers, and integrated development environments (IDEs) are examples of programming software. Modern programmers use high-level, robust, and industry-standard programming languages to construct complicated applications.

Examples of programming software are:

  • Notepad++ is a free editor for Microsoft Windows.

  • Sublime Text is a code editor compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux.

  • Eclipse — a Java language editor

  • Coda is a Mac editor for programming languages.

FREEWARE  

Freeware software is any program that is offered without charge. Anyone can download and use the software for free, but this does not imply that it can be modified or shared at will.

Freeware developers do not disclose or expose their source code; most only permit end-users to utilise their software under particular conditions and restrictions.

For instance, you may only be permitted to use the software for personal and not business purposes, or vice versa.

On the other hand, you must have formal authorisation or a paid license if you wish to use it for commercial reasons. Some even charge distribution fees for their freebies.

SHAREWARE  

Shareware is trial software that corporations give free to users. After the trial period, the user must pay to continue using the software. If the trial term expires without payment, the developer will discontinue use. Shareware allows consumers to evaluate an application before purchasing it. This guarantees customers can investigate multiple possibilities for the desired purpose.

SOURCE CODE SOFTWARE  

Open-source software is any software whose source code is accessible to the user. This allows them to add features or freely distribute the software as they see fit.

Although open-source software encourages the creation of applications, most restrict what other developers can do with the source code. Therefore, while it is possible to modify the software, there are limitations. It is vital to note that, depending on the creator, open-source software can be either free or paid.

CLOSED SOURCE SOFTWARE  

Software offered to the user without the source code is closed source. Developers encrypt and conceal their source code, and their software licenses are restrictive. Users are prohibited from cracking or copying the code. However, they may use the software for commercial or private purposes. Skype is an excellent illustration of closed-source software.

UTILITY SOFTWARE  

Utility software is categorised as a subset of system software. They manage the performance of your computer's hardware and application software to guarantee that they function optimally.

Utility software facilitates a computer system's optimisation, analysis, maintenance, and customising.

They facilitate its operation by sustaining the computer's infrastructure and determining its course.

These are some characteristics of utility software:

  • Disk purifier

  • Disk defragmentation software

  • Virus protection and security software

  • File compressor

  • Data backup application

HOW DOES SOFTWARE WORK?  

All software offers the instructions and data that computers require to operate and meet the needs of its users. On the other hand, applicant-side and system-side programs use distinctly.

 Application Software

End-user software, such as word processing and web browsing, falls under the category of application software. Applications can help out with other applications' tasks. A computer's operating system and other supporting system software programs are required for applications to run.

To perform their functions, these desktop apps use the computer's memory. Therefore, a computer's hard drive is required, but it does not require an internet connection to run.

As a result, desktop programs must comply with the device's hardware specifications.

On the other hand, web applications don't need any hardware or system software to run; all you need is an internet connection.

Because of this, web applications may be launched from any web-enabled device, including smartphones and tablets. In addition, users can run the app from any operating system because the server-side components are responsible for the application's functioning.

System software

System software runs the computer's operating system.

System software, which manages the computer's fundamental tasks but is not visible to users, runs in the background without requiring input from them. Users can run high-level application software to conduct certain operations with the help of this program.

The software is activated and continues running as long as a computer system is powered.

HOW TO MAINTAIN SOFTWARE QUALITY  

Software quality is determined by whether the software satisfies its functional and non-functional requirements.

Functional requirements define what the software should be capable of doing. They comprise technical details, data manipulation and processing, calculations, and other functions that indicate what an application intends to achieve.

Non-functional requirements dictate the system's function, commonly called quality qualities. Non-functional criteria include portability, disaster recovery, security, confidentiality, and usability.

Software testing identifies and resolves technical faults in the software source code and evaluates the product's overall usability, performance, security, and compatibility to verify it satisfies the specified criteria. 

The following characteristics comprise the quality dimensions of software:

Accessibility: The extent to which a varied range of users, including those who require adaptive technology such as voice recognition and screen magnification, can use the product without difficulty.

Compatibility: This points to the software's compatibility with various operating systems, devices, and web browsers.

Efficiency: This refers to the software's capacity to work effectively without wasting energy, resources, time, or money.

Functionality: This refers to the capability of a program to do its assigned tasks.

Installability: This is the capability of installing software in a particular environment.

Localisation: The software supports languages, time zones, and other functionalities.

Maintainability: The ease with which the software can be altered to add and enhance features, repair issues, etc.

Performance: This refers to the software's performance speed under a specific load.

Portability: This is the capacity to transfer software from one location to another without difficulty.

Reliability: The software's ability to perform a necessary function under specific conditions for a predetermined period without error.

Scalability: This is the software's capacity to enhance or decrease its performance in response to varying processing demands.

Security: This refers to the software's capacity to protect against unauthorised access, invasion of privacy, theft, data loss, and harmful software, among other threats.

Testability: The simplicity of software testing 

Usability: This refers to how simple the software is to operate.

To maintain software quality once deployed, developers must continuously modify it to suit new client requests and address issues identified by consumers.

This entails enhancing functionality, resolving defects, and modifying software code to prevent problems. The length of time a product remains on the market depends on the ability of its developers to keep up with these maintenance requirements.

CONCLUSION

There are numerous ways to categorize various types of computer software.

Application software, System software, Programming software, and Driver software are examples of software that can be classified by the purpose they perform.

They can also be categorized depending on characteristics such as the source code's nature, accessibility, and use cost.
A thorough comprehension of them will guide you to select and utilize the software effectively.

author

Wazobia Technologies

Content Writer

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