What is Modular Software?

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Software involves the programs that make up a computer system and the programs that run on that system. Modular architecture refers to design in which at least some of the components are optional and self-contained, able to be added-in or left out as desired by the user. Modular software is software developed with a design strategy that provides for users to create different configurations by minimizing the use of or adding modules. It can also refer to software that has been conceived so that sections of it are self-contained and can be developed, tested, and maintained separately. It can also be productive in ease of reusing discrete components.

Woman doing a handstand with a computer
Woman doing a handstand with a computer

Modular software in the first sense is widely used in legal and timeshare software. In legal software for practice management, one can find modules deployed for two different purposes. In some cases, the basic software program has basic features, such as billing, an accounting package, and a calendar. Extra modules contain elements that not every law firm will need. This way, the cost is born only by those practices that require features such as electronic billing or the ability to process credit cards.

Another way that modules are put to use in legal software is to make general practice management software specific to the type of practice by providing in modular software items that are only needed within a specialty. Thus, those practicing criminal law or intellectual property law or personal injury law can each purchase a separate practice area module that has reports, forms, and a library that is specific to its area of focus.

Timeshare software, too, has two different ways in which modules are deployed. First, because timeshare software is used by large and small enterprises, and by hotels and resorts that are part paying guest, part timeshare, as well as organizations that deal only with time share, there are a wide variety of needs. Separate modules are available to extend the basic program for those clients that need it, say, for Internet reservations or condominium owners.

The other way that modular software is configured for timeshare and vacation property use is with modules specific to the part of the business involved. This leads to quite different divisions. For example, one might have a marketing module, a sales module, a management module, and a finance module.

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth is passionate about reading, writing, and research, and has a penchant for correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to contributing articles to wiseGEEK about art, literature, and music, Mary Elizabeth is a teacher, composer, and author. She has a B.A. from the University of Chicago’s writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont, and she has written books, study guides, and teacher materials on language and literature, as well as music composition content for Sibelius Software.

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