What is App Software?

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  • Written By: Mary Elizabeth
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2019
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Software is customarily divided into two main categories. System software — the programs and routines needed to make a computer run, for example, the operating system — is one category. Application software, or app software, are the programs made to run on one or more systems — that is, in conjunction with one or more types of system software — that allow users to perform a variety of tasks. There are many different types of app software, including programs by competing manufacturers that perform similar tasks.

There are some main categories of app software. One might divide them many ways, but one way would be software programs that interact with the Internet and app software that operates entirely or mainly within the context of the user’s computer or mobile device, or alternatively, in the cloud. In the realm of Internet app software, one finds web browsers, which allow users to interact with web sites and web pages; web design programs and blogging software that allow the creation of web pages of various types; email clients, which retrieve email from remote servers and send email to remote addresses; instant messaging software, including facilities for text, audio, and video interaction; webinar software, which is souped-up instant messaging with added abilities to share documents, reveal one’s desktop, etc.; and File Transfer Protocol (FTS) programs, which support file exchange between computers via the Internet.


App software that forms the backbone of many businesses and educational profiles includes word processing apps that allow the creation and editing of text files, replacing a typewriter and including some functions of a desktop publishing program; database apps for creating, editing, sorting, and creating reports from data; spreadsheets for collection and analysis of data; and presentation graphics, programs for creating slide shows with text, graphics, data, or multimedia. Other app software includes management systems such as content management systems (CMS), learning management systems (LMS), project management and content management. Specialized mathematical and scientific programs are also available.

App software with a creative bent includes image software — whether using vector or raster graphics, and whether for drawing, CAD (computer assisted drawing), or editing photographs; development tools for creating new software; multimedia creation software, including music and movie programs; and desktop publishing software for combining text and graphics into page layouts. Games and educational software — including instructional material and assessments — and diagramming software to capture thoughts and processes, are other kinds of app software.


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Post 4

@MrMoody - Ultimately I believe that most software applications are going into the cloud, or the Internet. There’s no reason not to.

You already have companies like Google deploying web based versions of popular productivity applications, and I think that other companies will follow suit.

By using applications in the cloud, you can free up your computer and not bog it down with a lot of software that will consume hard drive space and memory. You can use local software only for those applications that you don’t want exposed to the world, for security reasons or whatever.

Post 3

@NathanG - I like software that lets you develop other software. These app building software tools include multimedia authoring programs. I bought such a package years ago and was able to use it to create CD ROM presentations as well as multimedia games and stuff like that.

It was easy to use, far easier than learning a programming language. It used its own scripting language and let you incorporate media elements from images to videos and sound files.

You could assemble them together in an organized manner and create a polished multimedia presentation.

Post 2

@hamje32 - I’d have to say that while the term “app software” refers to just about anything that is not system software the term “app” has to a large extent been co-opted by the mobile environment.

Mobile app software delivers applications in bite sized packages, using less memory and with a scaled down set of features. Because they are smaller versions of their desktop counterparts, they are termed “apps” rather than “applications,” although functionally of course software is software.

Then you have applications running in web browsers: these are called “applets.” So you have mini applications running in both the mobile environment and the web.

Post 1

Most people who think of software are thinking of app software. It’s rare that we talk a lot about operating system software, except to complain about its glitches with every new upgrade.

When we’re using software typically we refer to apps, as they are called, and in this context the office productivity applications predominate. I remember when my dad, who is an accountant, first started using spreadsheet software.

He was totally blown away. Spreadsheet programs were considered the “killer app” that made traditional accounting and bookkeeping so much easier, and saved a lot of time and money in the process.

Of course you don’t have to buy spreadsheet software if you don’t want. There are some decent open source solutions that will do the trick just fine.

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