General Uses of Software
Software is an ordered set of instructions and information that tell a particular computer how to operate. This is opposed to physical hardware, where the machine actually does all the work and is assembled. In software terms, a program is created. The term software also has a broader meaning, covering any algorithm or system that produces results, especially in computer programming. Programs are usually stored on a hard drive, the central processing unit of a personal computer.
Software has revolutionized how computers are assembled and programmed. Programmers can create a working system software engineer. In computer software engineering, concepts like object-oriented design, reusable programming languages and modularity combine to provide a general-purpose but highly efficient means of designing, developing and managing software systems.
A generic term used in discussing the subject matter of computer software is ‘user programs.’ These are applications that a user uses to do their specific tasks. Computer users control software by using keyboard commands, mouse movements, pointing devices and other similar input/output devices. User programs are responsible for performing specific tasks that the user is capable of doing. This generic term, user programs, covers software in any environment. Examples of user programs include Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.
Another term describing computer software development is software engineering. Software engineering refers to the processes used by programmers to build efficient programs. Software engineering includes everything involved in building efficient programs such as concept modeling, problem solving, analysis, design and testing. Software engineers perform these tasks as part of the routine job cycle of software development. For instance, software engineers will develop a client-based application and will test it with several customer representatives before it goes into production.
One other generic term describing application software is ‘text processing applications’ or simply ‘text processing.’ These are computer programs that take documents that have already been formatted and convert them into a specified format, which can then be used for input into computers. Examples of common text processing applications include word processors, spreadsheet applications and web page applications. Web page application software is very common as well as common text processing software.
Operating system software refers to the set of computer hardware and software necessary to support an operating system. The most popular operating systems today include Windows, Linux, and Apple Macintosh OS. Examples of application software include word processing application software, web browser software, database application software, music software, video game software and imaging software. Operating system software helps make computers understand and execute applications.