Introduction Types of Software



Software is a general term used for computer Programs. A computer program is a planned, step by step set of instructions that directs the computer what to do and how to do. It turns the data into information – that makes a computer useful.

Types Of Software

Generally speaking, software can be categorized as: (1) System Software (2) Application Software

System Software

The programs directly related to the computer hardware and perform tasks associated with controlling and utilizing computer hardware are known as system software.System software does not solve a specific problem for the user rather it helps to solva a problem.

System software falls into following categories.

(i) Operating System

Operating systems are the most important system software. Operating system is a set of programs that control and supervises the hardware of a computer and provides services to application software, programmers and users of computer.Without operating system a computer cannot do anything useful. A user cannot communicate directly with the computer hardware, so the operating system acts as an intermediary between user of a computer and the computer hardware. The primary goal of an operating system is to make the computer convenient to use. The secondary goal is to use the computer efficiently.

Some important tasks of an operating system are managing the resources of the computer such as Central Processing Unit (CPU), memory, disk drives and printer and running user programs. Every type of computer has its own operating system. Operating system for mainframe and other large computers are very complex since they must keep track of several programs from several users all running in the same time frame.

Following are some of the popular operating systems used in personal computers: DOS, Windows, Unix, Linus, Solaris, etc.

(ii) Language Translators

The computer does not understand a programming language, because computer only know the machine language or binary language. A program must be translated into machine language before the machine can execute it.
Software associated with programming languages include language translators such as assemblers, interpreters and compilers.

(a) Interpreter

An interpreter translates and executes each program statement one at a time. After execution the translation of a statement is removed from memory and next statement is loaded for translation. Translation is required if program is executed again. Therefore interpreter has limitations that it forgets translation after execution of statement. Interpreters are suitable for short programs developed by beginners to programming.

GWBASIC is an interpreter for BASIC language programs. Each programming language has its own interpreter.

(b) Compiler

Compilers translate the whole program at a time and store their translated program on disk. The original program is called “Source Program” while its translated version is called “Object Program”.

(c) Assembler

The assembler is a language translator for a low level programming language called “Assembly language”. Assembly language is a Symbolic language.

(iii) Data-management software

Data-management software includes database and file management programs that manage data for an operating system. They can organize, update and print data.

(iv) Editors

Editors allow the user to type-in a program, generate text and make modifications whenever necessary. A program is first written in an editor and then is compiled. It is possible that the compiler of any language has its own editor for writing programs.

(v) Utility Software

These are programs that users can purchase as seperate products to perform a wide range of functions. The programs for these functions are PC-Tools, Scan Disk, Norton Disk Doctor (NDD), Anti virus and some of the utilities that are mostly bundled with the operating system.

Application Software

An application is a job or task a user wants to accomplish through a computer. Application software are programs that help a user perform a specific job.

For example application software enables a user to write a letter and/ or create a drawing. It helps the user work faster, more efficiently and thus provide more productivity than manual performance.

Types of Application software

Application software can be grouped into two broad categories.
(i) General purpose Application software
(ii) Special purpose Application Software


These are called package software or commercial software. A single software can be applied to a wide variety of tasks. By using such software a user can fulfill his or her general needs.

General purpose software includes, MS Office, Corel Draw, Page maker, Adobe Photo shop, etc.

 Special Purpose Application Software

The software that is designed to perform a specific task is known as special purpose application software. This i also called Custom software. The Software can perform only one task for which it has been designed. Custom software for the tasks of a large organization may be extremely complex and takes a lot of time to develop.

For example, Software to process inventory control, software to maintain Bank Accounts, Software used in Airline Booking System, etc.







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