What is Software?
A set of instructions, in the form of algorithms used to operate computers to do specific tasks, is Software. As opposed to hardware, the software cannot be viewed in real. While hardware describes the physical parts of a computer, software is something that runs as a program on the computer helping a number of people with extremely tough tasks.
The input of software comes in the form of a code, that either interacts with the hardware or is dedicated to doing specific tasks.
Software is broadly divided into two parts.
This is the type of software that directly interacts with the hardware running on the computer providing a platform for the application software to run.
Eg: A device driver for a scanner. Every scanner comes with its own device driver that creates a platform for the coming scanning applications to interact with them and run.
On the other hand, application software is something that runs on the platform created by the system software. The application software interacts with the user helping them perform specific jobs that they are meant for, easier.
eg. A scanning application that has lots of parameters such as the resolution, size, contrast, color, etc. Using these parameters of this application software, the user can easily perform their tasks the easier way.
What do we use Software for?
Software as explained in the previous sections is an extremely useful set of instructions provided to the computer. The instructions are provided with the clear intention of making a set of tasks easier.
But just using the input devices such as a keyboard and mouse, we can make use of software and get ourselves involved in a lot of work. Like, photoshop, working on the photos that we have digitally captured, QuickBooks, working on your accounts, billing your clients, and watching a movie over your smart tv with popcorn in your hand.
What are the types of Software?
There is no standard categorization made with respect to the software. It is based on the usage and their nature we can categorize them into the following types.
This type of software is used solely for the purpose of manipulating and processing text. The manipulation part allows the text to change its font, color, style, etc., while the processing part contacts lexical and allows the features like antonyms, synonyms, spell check, etc.
The software where you can share your ideas in a visual format. A template or a design helps you present your thoughts in the form of slides. Each slide can accommodate designs in the form of texts, charts, videos, graphs, images, etc.
If you have to learn something all by yourself, this type of software will help you achieve that. They are all tagged as learning management software. It reminds me of software that I used to learn typing during my initial days of handling computers.
There are many a time when you have a huge amount of data that you might want to store. In such cases, Data Storage comes into the picture. This type of software provides us with various data fields such as text, numbers, date, time, etc.
This type of software directly contributes to building infrastructure at a place. This is a recent advent for a common man. Artificial intelligence takes a major share of this type of software. When there are too many documents in an enterprise Document Management System takes over.
When you are stressed out, a great way to bring that stress down is to get yourself involved with entertainment software. It ranges from screen savers to awesome games. There are even video players using which movies can be watched, not turned into a browser-based YouTube.
With the advent of the internet, it is very important for anyone to connect to the world wide web. While the hardware part like the router, modem, and cables takes care of the connectivity, browsers help us receive the data and show them in a humanly readable form.
This acts as a medium to convert the bits into a human interactive form. It becomes a platform that can directly communicate with all the hardware that is available. As and when new hardware gets introduced, this software gets updated to support it. As you rightly guessed, this is system software.
To interact with the speaker, mic, and other such types of multimedia, this will be used. Graphics, animations, image editing, watching movies, and listening to songs are all a part of multimedia. Software that helps manipulate or use these, constitutes multimedia software.
A software that is used just to observe an operation without using the actual hardware. When a pilot wants to learn to operate the flight, instead of actually flying the flight for the first time, the pilot prefers to use simulation software and learn to operate the plane virtually.
Again, system software that translates or compiles the source code written in a high-level language by a programmer into a machine-understandable low-level language, and in turn into bits. Compilers have to find errors in the programs if there are any.
Broader Categorization of Software
The above software come under one of these categories.
These are the software that totally belongs to a particular company. The whole code is either purchased by a company or developed by them, they hold the copyrights, and they own the software.
Eg. Microsoft Office
They are owned by a particular company just like the proprietary software but are customized and handed over to their customers, based on their requirements.
Eg. Any Banking Software
They are software that is distributed for free in their basic version. To get a premium version of the same software the users have to pay and upgrade.
Eg. Avast Antivirus
Proprietary software is offered for free to customers with a particular feature. It is for a particular purpose and there is no upgrade or premium version of it directly.
Eg. Microsoft Visual Studio Code
The software along with the code is available to the public. The public can download this software using an online repository and start using them right after the download. A typical example could be even coding languages like Python! Did you know that you can develop web applications using Python?
What is an Application Software?
We now know about the types of software. We have also discussed what application software is. Any software that is built over a system software acts as something that helps us in a specific task is application software.
In the recent past, after we all started using smartphones, the term “app” came into the picture. This is nothing but a short form for application. So, essentially the software that is not system software, that does not interact with the hardware, be it computer or mobile, are application software, simply called apps.
What are the uses of Application Software?
Application Software is used for ages. Initially, there was only standalone application software that slowly got moved into the internet. Now, almost all the software is in the cloud, including multimedia software like video and audio editors.
With the Internet of Things shortly and popularly known as IoT, the interactions between real-time objects and application software have gone to a different level.
You can operate Smart-TVs, Smart Washing Machines, Smart Lights, and whatnot. In a decade, this will only lead to unimaginable growth, in collaboration with Artificial Intelligence, popularly, sweetly called AI, and Machine learning.
Let us have a look at some examples of Application Software that most of us would be familiar with.
21 examples of Application Software along with benefits
Let us delve into the different types of software that we have mentioned earlier in this article and explore what kinds of software are being developed that are helping mankind in a big way.
If you are a writer of any kind, for sure, this software that comes as an extension to most of the major browsers helps you out with grammar. Invariably, you would have committed mistakes without your knowledge.
As I am writing this I am using Grammarly which is helping me correct my spelling mistakes and grammar. In the premium version, Grammarly even detects plagiarism along with advanced grammar.
It is a very useful software when you have a lot of images, PDFs, or Books that you want to extract text. All you need to do is to use this software. Open the images through this software, and click on a button that says read text.
This automatically reads the images and extracts text from the pages. You can use the text extracted in many things.
3. Google Slides
An alternative to Microsoft PowerPoint using which you can create a free presentation. This is extremely lite and has an online version which will be enabled by default in google drive. You have the power of creating slides like how you do in PowerPoint for free.
When a reader wants to read a digital book, the best option to get a feeling of reading a digital book like a physical book can be felt using this software. The user interface of the software is just like turning the pages of a physical book.
Instead of your hands, you will be using the mouse cursor. This is a must-have software for digital book enthusiasts.
5. Typing Master
Be it a blogger or a programmer, it is easier if you know how to type. It makes it easier to do things faster. While for programmers it might be debatable if they need to learn typing, at least for bloggers, typing for sure helps in creating knowledge banks easily.
This software helps in helping type at a faster speed by suggesting the usage of the right fingers for the right letters.
6. Virtual Reality
With a 3d glass on, you can watch 3d models of how things work right from the digestive system to an electronic device. It will just look as if you are looking in the real world. As you turn your head, the model turns at the same amount of angle as that of your head.
This will be an entertaining way to learn with great graphical 3d models. When it is next only to impossible to dissect and learn in the real world, it is easily doable in the virtual world.
7. Perfex CRM
A Customer Relationship Manager software that completely looks after a small business right from generating leads from a website to invoicing. There is project management where you can organize projects and tasks separately.
This is online software that stores all the data and generates reports based on this data.
Online software is mainly used for accounting and bookkeeping. Hence the name QuickBooks.It is sophisticated and customizable software that can be customized based on the requirement of the customer.
This has been in the market for quite some time now.
In companies, a lot of documents keep moving here and there. To manage the documents a software called Document Management System is used. Once the documents are scanned, they are uploaded to this along with indexing them.
The PDFs, if converted to text can be indexed to what is inside the PDF, which will make it extremely easy to retrieve.
10. VLC Player
The open-source software plays all kinds of videos. There are a lot of formats of late. But even the newest format is supported by the VLC player. Even if the player cannot play, it asks us to download a plugin that supports that particular video format.
In addition, it supports audio formats too.
In a similar fashion, if you want to watch a movie, you can do that based on a subscription. Netflix is a platform to store tons of movies allowing only subscribers to watch the movies by streaming. This is securely protected by digital rights management and acts as entertainment software.
A lite browser with a lot of features that you don’t get in many browsers. Opera only uses 80% of the RAM that Chrome uses. In addition to this Opera offers a lot of features, like seamless integration with smartphones, and connecting to your favorite messenger right out of the box.
This browser is slightly better used than Opera. The security breaches of Google Chrome are addressed in Firefox. With the same speed as Opera, this browser is almost on the verge of becoming an Operating System like Chrome OS.
14. Movavi Video Editor
A must-have tool for every beginner vlogger. I have used many video editors, but this one is the simplest of all. With the speed that this video editor provides us, it can even work with an old laptop.
There are a lot of simple animations, audio effects, transitions, etc. All of this comes only for a very low cost.
The more you use this software, the better user-friendly it becomes. A lot of features from photoshop are provided for us in this open-source software. You can open most of the image formats and convert them using this software.
Gimp has been offering us to create animated gifs for a very long time.
The best open-source software to create 3d models, 3d animation, 2d animation, and video editing. It might come to you as a surprise as to how one software can help you with so many things, that too free of cost. But this is true.
Blender’s disadvantage is the steep learning curve, but again, once you are used to this, nothing can stop you from creating creative stuff for free.
This online software helps people validate something by creating designs. This analysis is known as simulation and this software is pretty good at doing this.
The three things that can be done using this software are:
- Easily test performance
- optimize durability
- improve efficiency.
A coding platform developed by google follows a pretty neat interface. An open-source software, using this you can develop an app for multiple platforms. One code for many platforms is the best part of flutter which is absent in the android studio.
19. Visual Studio Code
An editor that is sophisticated enough to code in any language. It supports auto indentations, colorful texts, and additional plugins that can compile the code right from within the editor. This is almost an Integrated Development Environment like Android Studio and Eclipse.
This is a Content Management System (CMS) where you can run a complete website without writing a single line of code. This needs PHP, and MySQL installed. Most of the website data will be stored in the MYSQL database (which is where their posts are found). If you are used to it, you can bring up a simple website in hours.
This is completely open-source, meaning you don’t even need to shell out a single pie.
We have written a lot about them in this portal. You can check in detail about comments, widgets, sticky-menu, customizing headers, essential grids, smart coupons for e-commerce, free themes with demo content, e-commerce, sessions, sliders, testimonials, etc.
A Learning Management System (LMS) developed using PHP, is used by millions of people. This LMS is used by teachers to share their courses and attract students. This open-source software has features on par with any Learning Management System.