Application software is used to perform various applications or tasks on the computer. Today, a wide variety of application software is available to meet any user need. Individuals and businesses use application software to perform hundreds of tasks such as:
- Writing letters
- Making presentations
- Managing finances
- Managing business inventory
- Preparing tax returns
- Designing and editing images
- Accessing the Web-based resources
- Participating in videoconference
- Playing games
Forms of Application Software
Application software is available in the following forms:
Packaged software or retail software is a copyrighted available for different types of users. It is not developed for a particular user or organization. Examples of packaged software are word processing and spreadsheet software. Many packaged software are also available on the Web.
Custom software is designed for a particular customer or organization. It is developed to meet the exact requirements of a particular customer or organization. The cost of customized software is more than packaged software.
A software that is developed for a particular university is an example of customized software. The software can be developed by single programmer or a team of programmers.
Shareware is a copyrighted software that is available free of cost for a limited time period. The user can use shareware for a certain time period. The user has to purchase it if he wants to use it further. The shareware software should be uninstalled or removed from the computer if the user does not want to use it any more. Normally, shareware software stops working properly when the time period is expired. It displays a message to the user to purchase it.
Shareware is a version of software that is used by the users for evaluation purpose. Software developers provide shareware software to the users to check and evaluate its performance. A large number of shareware software are available on Internet. The users can download and use these software for evaluation.
Freeware is a copyrighted software that is available free of cost for unlimited time period. Demo disks often come under this category. Many software programs are produced for educational purpose. These programs are available free of cost to all.
Public Domain Software
Public domain software is also free software. It is basically donated for public use. It has no copyright restrictions. Any person can use or distribute public domain software to others without any cost.
Open source software is provided for use, modification and redistribution without any cost. Anyone can modify the instructions of software and redistribute it. The open source software usually can be downloaded from the Internet.
Web application or Web app is a type of software that is accessed with a Web browser. Most Web apps do not require any installation on local computer or handheld device. The software typically runs on a remote computer connected to the Internet or network. The computer requires a Web browser and an Internet connection to use the Web apps. The user can visit the specific website and use the required Web app. Many Web apps are available free of cost whereas some require a fee to use.
The use of Web-based software is growing rapidly. Many business software services are offered as SaaS like scheduling, customer service, accounting, project management etc. These applications require a subscription fee per user per month. The companies that deliver SaaS are called application service providers (ASPs).
Web apps are examples of cloud computing. They are also known as Software as a Service (SaaS) or cloudware. Some popular Web apps include Hotmail, Google Docs, OneDrive and ThinkFree Online.
- Web app can be accessed from any computer with a Web browser and an Internet connection.
- Some Web apps can also be accessed via a mobile phone and other mobile devices.
- The data is usually stored on Web app’s website and can be accessed from anywhere.
- Web apps are always up to date and the user does not have to install updates.
- Web apps do not require local storage space.
- Web apps may become slow than applications stored on a local hard drive.
- Web apps typically have fewer features than applications installed locally.
- Many Web apps put a limit on the file size of the documents.
- The user cannot access the Web app and stored data if the server goes down or if there is no Internet access.
- The data may be more vulnerable to exposure or loss because it is out of user control.
Mobile app are designed for handheld devices such as smartphone, tablet computer or enhanced media player. They are generally small applications sold through an online apps store. They are downloaded and installed on the handheld devices. Many apps are available for free or at very nominal fee. Different types of mobile apps are available today such as games, entertainment apps, business apps, calendars and communication apps etc. Many banks also provide mobile app for mobile banking.
Most handheld devices can use both Web apps and mobile apps. The difference is that Web apps run on a remote computer whereas mobile apps run from the handheld device. Games and entertainment seem to dominate mobile apps, whereas shopping and social apps dominate the Web apps category.
Installing Mobile Apps
The mobile apps can be installed on the handheld devices by downloading the app from app store. For example, the apps for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch can be downloaded from the online Apple App Store. Most handheld devices have an icon to open the app store for the device. The user can select an app and pay for it if required. The installation process places the app’s program file on the storage device and creates an icon to launch the app.
Portable software is designed to run from removable storage devices such as a CD or USB flash drive. These programs do not need any installation and can be run on almost any computer. No configuration data is stored on the hard disk. There is no need to insert any entries in Windows Registry about the software. Many portable software are available including LibreOffice Portable, Thunderbird, Firefox and FileZilla which are designed to run from USB flash drives.
Software Installation, Upgrades and Updates
Software installation is a process of placing a program into a computer so that it can be executed. Software for desktop computers can be purchased on CD/ DVD or can downloaded from the Internet. Mobile software is downloaded from an app store such as Apple’s App Store. In any case, the software is installed using its installation program. It becomes ready to use after installation.