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Application software consists of programs designed to perform specific tasks for end-users.
This unit presents an overview of the major types of application software, that end-users depend on as they work with computers, and as they access computer networks.
Today, there are millions of commercial software products that cover a variety of tasks such as:
Classifications of Application Software
The common Classifications of application software include:
This refers to packaged software that is designed to meet the needs of a wide variety of end users.
Off the shelf software is mass-produced, commercially sold software, and copyrighted.
Microsoft Office Word and Adobe Photoshop are examples of Off the shelf software.
Custom (bespoke) software,
Custom software is tailor-made software, which is developed at a user’s request to perform specific functions.
Sometimes, when a company cannot find packaged soft-ware that meets its unique requirements, it pays computer programmers to write custom software that is specifically tailored to meet the needs of the company.
Custom software usually costs more than packaged software.
Comparison of the characteristics Standard and Custom Software
Copyrighted software refers to computer programs with restrictions regarding use, modification, and redistribution.
You have to pay for copyrighted software and must not copy it without permission from the manufacturer.
Copying copyrighted software without paying for it is clearly unethical and illegal.
Shareware is copyrighted software that is distributed at no cost for a trial period.
To use a shareware program beyond that period, you send payment to the program developer.
In some cases, a scaled-down version of the software is distributed free, and payment entitles the user to the fully functional product.
Open source software is software provided for use, modification, and redistribution. This software has no restrictions from the copyright holder.
Open source software usually can be downloaded from the Web at no cost.
Public-domain software has been donated for public use and has no copyright restrictions.
Anyone can copy or distribute public-domain software to others at no cost.
Special Purpose (Specialized) Software
This refers to computer programs developed and dedicated to accomplish particular jobs only.
Programs that run on special purpose computers like ATMs are special purpose software.
Other Examples of specialized software include:
This refers to a Wide a variety of application programs that perform many common tasks.
Varieties of General purpose application programs include Word processing programs, Spreadsheet programs, web browsers, Graphics programs, etc.
Uses of Popular Application software varieties and their Examples
(A). Word Processors – Used for producing textual documents like letters, notes, reports, memos, etc. Examples Include:
Lotus Word Pro,
(B). Spread sheet software – Used for performing calculations, and the creating of graphs. Examples include:
(C).Database management software (DBMS)- Used to create and manage an organized collection of related and structured information (a database). Examples include:
(D). Presentation software – These applications are used for making presentations and slide shows that can aid a speech presentation. Examples include:
E) Communications software
One of the main reasons people use computers is to communicate and share information with others. A variety of communications software options exist. Common communications software includes Web browsers, e-mail software, chat rooms, newsgroups, Text messaging, FTP programs, blog software, and teleconferencing software.
(F).Computer aided design (CAD) software – Used by engineers and architects to produce technical drawings such as designs of building structures and floor plans
G). Desktop publishing software – These are applications used for creating publications like cards, flyers, calendars, brochures, Newsletters, Certificates, etc. Examples include:
Adobe Page Maker,
(H). Web browsing software for displaying Webpages from the internet or html documents on computers. Examples Include:
Netscape Navigator, e.t.c
(I). Web authoring software – Used by webmasters for building websites. Examples include:
Microsoft Expression Web,
Antenna Web Design Studio
(J). Media Players for Audio and Video playback on computers. Examples include:
Windows Media Player,
VLC Media Player, e.t.c.
(K). Graphics software – Used by graphic designers to create and design artistic graphics and to manipulate visual images on a computer such as logos, cartoons etc. Examples include
Adobe Photo shop,
Adobe Illustrator etc.
A digitally altered photograph shows sports star Michael Jordan (born 1963) meeting famous scientist Albert Einstein (who died in 1955).
(L) Accounting software helps companies to record and report their financial transactions.
With accounting soft-ware, you perform accounting activities related to the general ledger, accounts receivable, accounts payable, purchasing, invoicing, job costing, payroll functions, etc.
Examples include Quick Books
M) Audio and video editing software
Audio editing software lets users produce studio quality soundtracks.
With video editing software, you can modify video clips: you can reduce the length of a video clip, reorder a series of clips, or add special effects such as words that move horizontally across the screen, etc
N) Images Viewing software
This refers to computer applications primarily used for previewing digital photographs on the computer screen.
Many have basic features such as viewing thumbnails, slideshows, printing and simple editing such as cropping and resizing.
Examples of Image viewers include:
Microsoft Office Picture Manager, Windows Photo viewer, Picasa photo viewer, etc.
O) Reference software
Reference software provides valuable and thorough information for all individuals.
Popular reference software includes encyclopedias, dictionaries, health/medical guides, and travel directories.
Encyclopaedia Britannica 2011 Ultimate Reference DVD
Microsoft Student with Encarta Premium, e.t.c.
P) Note Taking software
Note taking software enables users to enter typed text, handwritten comments, drawings, or sketches anywhere on a page and then save the page as part of a notebook .
The software can convert handwritten comments to typed text or store the notes in handwritten form.
Examples include Microsoft Office OneNote
Q) Text Editors
Text editors are simple word processors that are generally used to type without any special formatting.
Text editors are mainly used to create small notes, memos and programs.
Examples of common text editors are: Notepad, Notepad++, Gedit etc.
R) Gaming Software
These are programs developed as electronic game that involve human interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a computer.
Common computer games include solitaire, chess titans, Racing, StarCraft, Need for Speed, e.t.c.
S) Email Software / Email client
Email software (Commonly known as email client) is a computer program used to access and manage a user’s email account.
Web applications that provide message management, composition, and reception functions are sometimes also commonly referred to as webmail.
Popular locally installed email clients include Microsoft Outlook, Pegasus Mail, Mozilla’s Thunderbird, KMail, Evolution and Apple Mail.
Popular web-based email clients include: GMail, Yahoo! Mail, mail.com, Lycos mail, and Hotmail.
T) Enterprise computing software
A large organization, commonly referred to as an enterprise, requires special computing solutions, because of its size.
Enterprise computing software is designed to help these enterprises manage and control their operations and resources, develop new products and services, manage relationships with customers and suppliers, and develop new business strategies.
A software suit is a collection of individual application soft-ware programs sold as a single package.
When you install the suite, you install the entire collection of applications at once instead of installing each application individually.
At a minimum, suites typically include the following software applications: word processing, spreadsheet, database, and presentation graphics,
Advantages of using software suites
Factors to consider before obtaining a software program
Learning Aids and Support Tools for Application Software
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