Applications Software: This is that software which serves specific purposes and allow the user to create applications which are for a given purpose like financial accounting, payroll, examinations, human resources management etc. these software packages vary with the degree of sophistication, extent of coverage, and complexity. These applications must be user friendly, so that even and end user, who does not know much about them can work by following easy and specific instruction, which are to be provided by the software. This software can be further classified, depending upon the source of development as well the users:
i) Pre written application software
ii) User written application software
Pre written application software: These are those software packages which are developed by group of people or an individual to be used by others. These are usually sold in the market, at specific prices, which act as the source of revue for the developers of this software. They are usually user friendly and are helpful for general activities of an organization or an individual, where one does not have time or knowledge to write their own programs, but can user this software for their use.
Most Commonly Available Pre Written Application
Word processing software, Electronic spreadsheets, database management software, graph generator, report generator, communication software.
Word processing software: These are those software, which usually automate the day to day documentation work of an organization, it helps in creating texts, manipulating, formatting and priming of the text, so that the drafting, redrafting, typing again manually now becomes easy and less paper wastage as well the time taken also is reduced a lot. WordStar, WordPerfect, WinWord, Microsoft word etc. are some of the available word processors.
Electronic spreadsheets: Electronic spreadsheets are like sheets of paper with rows and columns. Electronic spreadsheets allow numbers, characters, formulae and all other types of data which has to be entered in a tabular form rows or columns. Usage of electronic spreadsheets gives significant advantages and benefits over using paper spreadsheets. Some of the significant advantages:
a) It provides flexibility and it is easy to incorporate changes.
b) Automation of various calculations.
c) Recalculating automatically on updating.
d) Various built in functions are provided, so that the user finds it convenient to work.
e) Flexibility to size and resize columns.
f) Spreadsheet is very vast, so that vast areas can be provided if required.
g) The ease at which insertions and deletions can be made.
h) Data can be formatted as per the requirement.
Some of the most commonly available and used spreadsheets are Lotus-1, 2, 3, MS-Excel, Super Calc etc.
Database management software: Database is an organized collection of data, which is logically related. Database serves as the source form which desired information can be retrieved; conclusions can be drawn by processing the data. The most commonly used database in our day to day life are the telephone directory, where the telephone numbers along with the name and address are arranged in alphabetical order and the dictionary, where words are arranged alphabetically along with their meanings.
The data has to be managed so that the retrieval of information is effective and easy. Managing data involves creating, deleting, updating, adding, modifying data in databases. Along with these querying or printing reports also comes as database management. Database management software or system (DBMS) is a software package that allows a user to perform above function. It also allows m
ultiple computers sharing the data files. Some of the DBMS packages commonly used by people for personal computing are DBASE, FOXBase, FOXPRO, Clipper, Paradox, Soft Base etc.
This DBMS technology has been subjected to many improvements and advanced database management software has been evolved which are called Relational Database Management systems (RDBMS), Object Oriented Relational database Management Software are Oracle Ingress, SOL server, Informix, Sybase. DB2 etc.
Graph generator: as graphical representation of data is much easier to understand as well as appearing, many graph generator software have been designed, as the data, in spite of being in the tabular form it is usually cumbersome and difficult to draw conclusions. Therefore data when presented in graphical form like Bar graphs, Pie charts. Line graphs etc. ct as a better tool to present statistical or other data. It is also easier to represent relationships among data items graphically. Some of the graphs generators are Lotus 123, Oracle graphics, MS Excel etc.
Report generator: There is always a need in day to day operations that timely reports of various activities have to used, so as to depict a situation or helping decision making. If these reports are designed manually it is very difficult task, therefore some software solutions have been designed so as to help a user to design his own report, with ease and even the time consumed is drastically reduced. Some of the commonly available report generating software are Oracle reports, Crystal reports etc.
Communication Software: Communication is the essence of all operations. Effective communication i.e., sending and receiving data plays a key role in the smooth running of any organization or day to day life for effective communications we are using communication lines, satellites etc. where data can be transmitted between two points. There can be an electronic data transfer between two different computers in a network. The concept of Email, i.e., electronic mail has become the order of the day, where one can communicate with any one throughout the world by sending a mail electronically. Some of the commonly available packages that help in communications are PC-Talk, XPAD, CCMail, XTALK etc.
Thus, these pre written software helps the user by easing his tasks and by providing him with various facilities, which are helping him to carry out his activities in a more efficient and productive manner. Here, he need not write programs, he can user these packages with much difficulty.
Line Ware: As we have already seen and understand that the computer is a very powerful device which is capable to handle and process bulky data, but it cannot do anything on its own, one has to give instructions to it, so that it can work accordingly, one has to supply input also, as well it cannot “think” on its own, therefore it requires human intervention at every stage of its operation. This human component of computer is called Liveware, the ware which is living.
Firm ware: With the sophistication of technology, which brought in the reduction in the cost of hardware, state-of art technology in software implementations and the solutions provided for a particulars problem is now improvised. With this, even the conventional method of supply computer software is changed from floppies, disks etc to chips. Here, the software is made available on ROM chips by the computer software manufacturers, these chips can be easily plugged into the computer system which forms the part of the hardware. These types of software [programs] which are supplied on the hardware are known as Firm Ware.
Form ware can be otherwise understood as sequence of instruction (software programs) which act as substitutes for hardware. For example let us consider a case where we do not want to user special circuits [hardware] to find the product of two numbers, but we user written instructions (software) top accomplish the same purpose, by repeatedly using the circuits already available for performing addition operations. These types of software are stored in a ROM chip, which when used does the required operation.
Earlier, Firmware was usually used for system software, but now even the application programs are also called coded using this technology, as this is a cost effective alternative to electronic circuits.