Understanding The Many Different Types Of Software Applications

To the beginner and even the experienced computer user, software applications may appear to have many similarities. For example, both programs may cause changes to the desktop and are commonly called programs. However, apart from the similarities, there are also some major differences between software applications and their traditional forms. Here is a short rundown of what you need to know about the different kinds of software that you encounter on your PC or laptop.

Applications are the biggest bang for your buck! A software application is a program designed to perform a specific purpose other than one pertaining to the proper functioning of the computer itself, usually to be utilized by end-users for non-tech support purposes. Examples of such a program include a calendar and a web browser.

Of the five major types of software applications, the most common is the Windows based system software. There are numerous varieties of Windows systems including Microsoft Office, Windows Media Player, Microsoft Works, and Windows Explorer. Each app in these systems is specific to its version. Therefore, you might find two different programs named Windows Movie Center and Windows Movieplayer, but they will operate in completely different ways in terms of how they work with the same Windows operating system.

On the flip side, there are other kinds of software applications. Examples include freeware, shareware, commercial, and open source software. Freeware is free from copyright laws, whereas commercial software has certain restrictions imposed by the license agreement. Examples of open source software are Apache, MySQL, PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby and JavaScript, to name a few.

Most home computer users and business users alike are more familiar with the term application program interface, or API. This term refers to the graphical user interface that appears on web pages and software programs. The main goal for this type of interface is to make it easier for end-users to perform tasks, access information, and navigate the pages on a website. For example, the Windows Information Manager (MIM), which is part of Windows Vista, includes various features including an Information Center that provides users a list of frequently asked questions and answers. Similarly, Yahoo!

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