Software, Hardware, Malware, Firmware, you have heard it all before, but what is it? The software can be broken into two main types, namely; systems software and applications software. These two types of software can be further broken down into subcategories. The general definition of software is; a list of commands and connected documents that instructs a computer on what to do or how to correctly execute a task.
These are created to coordinate and control how the computers hardware functions and are the link between the user and the equipment. Think of how your brain sends messages through the motoneurons to make your fingers move. This is similar, only technologically based. Systems software can be broken into five main categories ranging from OS to Utility.
The Operating System
This embraces the messages transferring from hardware to system programs to applications and back again. Examples include Windows 10, Ubuntu, and Mac OS X. This allows for the transfer of messages from the device to the operating system and applications. Examples include drivers for your mouse, keyboard, soundcard, display card, network card, most of which is included in the package.
This is the operational software embedded in a flash or memory chip for the Operating system to identify and allows control of the device. As its name suggests, it translates machine from high-level to low-level. It also simplifies software developers’ tasks by naming syntax errors, providing diagnostic reports and allocating storage.
This makes sure that drivers and applications function at best levels. It sits between system and app software. It performs diagnostics and maintenance, and tasks include defragmentation and securing crucial data. Examples include antivirus, disk partition services, file compressors, firewalls, and data backup.
Application software is software used to execute specific tasks and is used to manipulate digits, including numbers, letters as well as graphics. It is generally created for the end-user and can also be known as end-user programs. They include applications for databasing, web browsing and word processing amongst others. There are many types of application software; they will be listed below:
- Word Processing Software like Notepad and MS Word
- Database Software like MS Access
- Spreadsheet Software like Apple Numbers or Google Sheets
- Media Playing Software like Keynotes
- Educational software like Encarta and Google Earth
- Application Suites like Microsoft Office
- Simulation software like flight simulators
- Application software usually needs to be installed on your device; otherwise, it will need access to the internet.
All things computing can be confusing for many people, so don’t feel alone. Once broken down and analysed, the terminology is easier to understand. And if it still doesn’t make sense, you have the world wide web at your fingertips.