Software | Introduction, Definition, Types of Software & Examples

Software Introduction: The most important terms used in computer terminology are hardware and software.

Hardware components of computer refers to physical components of computer that can be touched i.e. input, output, storage devices etc. come under the category of hardware.

Software is the set of programs that are given to computer to fulfill any task successfully. Software is usually created by grouping various related program.

It is the software which makes the computer to interact with the user.

So both hardware and software are integral part of a computer because it is the software which makes hardware to perform various tasks.

 

DEFINITION OF SOFTWARE | What is Software?

A computer cannot do anything on its own. We need to give instructions to it to do a job desired by us. Hence it is necessary to specify a sequence of instructions a computer must perform to solve a problem.

Such a sequence of instructions written in language understood by a computer is called as computer program.

A program controls a computer’s processing activity and the computer performs precisely what the program wants it to do.

So, Software represents the set of programs, procedures that governs the operation of a computer system and make the hardware run.

So a multipurpose computer system like a personal computer has several software packages, one each for each type of job it has to perform.

 

Types of Software | What are 3 types of Software?

The software can be broadly classified into following three categories:

  1. System Software
  2. Application Software
  3. Utility software

1. System Softwares:

System software is a set of programs which are designed to control the operation of a computer system and extend the processing capability of a computer system.

System software

 

It consists of:

(a) Operating System: An operating system is a program which acts as an interface between a user and the hardware.

Operating system is just like our secretary. As the boss gives orders to his secretary and the secretary does all the work for his boss. The secretary himself decides: how to do? What to do? When to do? etc.

Same way we pass our orders/ requests to operating system and ‘the operating system’ does it for us. Therefore an operating system is an important component of computer system which controls all other components of the computer system.

The operating system performs the following functions:

    • Provides the instructions to prepare user interface i.e. way to interact with user whether through typed commands or through graphical symbols.
    • Loads necessary programs (into the computer memory) which are required for proper computer functioning.
    • Co-ordinates how program work with the CPU, keyboard, mouse, printer and other hardware as well as other software.
    • Manages the way information is stored on and retrieved from disks.

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(b) Language Processors :  As programmer prefer to write their programs in one of the high level languages because it is much easier to code in such languages.

However the computer does not understand any language other than its own machine language (binary language) therefore, it becomes necessary to process a high level language program so as to make it understandable to the computer.

The system programs which perform this job are called language processors. Examples are assembler, interpreter and compiler.

(i) Assembler: As we know that computer understand only machine language/ binary language so the programs written in assembly language program must be converted into its equivalent machine language program before it can be executed on-the computer.

This translation is done with the help of a translator program, which is known as an assembler.

Translation process of Assembler

Showing the Translation process of Assembler

The assembler of a computer system is a system software supplied by the computer manufacturer.

The work of assembler is not only to convert assembly language into binary language but it also assembles the machine language program in the main memory of the computer and makes it ready for execution.

The program written in assembly language is known as source code and its equivalent machine language is known as object code.

 

(ii) Interpreter: An Interpreter is also a type of translator used for translating programs written in high level languages.

It takes one statement of high level language program, translates it into machine language and then immediately executes the resulting machine language instructions.

It means, in case of an interpreter, the translation and execution processes alternate for each statement encountered in the high level language.

translation process of Interpreter

Showing the translation process of Interpreter

Interpreters are easy to write and require less storage space in memory, but the time taken to execute a program is more than the time taken by a compiler.

 

(iii) Compiler: A compiler is also a type of translator used for translating programs written in high level language into its equivalent machine language.

A compiler converts all the source code into machine code and create a executable file. A compiler can translate only those source programs, which have been written in language for which compiler is meant.  A C++ Compiler can compile only a program which is written in C++. Therefore each computer requires a separate compiler for each high level language.

Showing the translation process of compiler

Showing the translation process of compiler

Compiler are large programs, which reside permanently an secondary storage when a source program  is to be translated the compiler and the source program are copied from secondary storage into the main memory of the computer.

The compiler is then executed and it converts source code to the equivalent object code. Once complied and executed there is no need to compile the same program again when we execute it in future.


2. Utility Software and Software Examples:

Utility softwares are set of programs which help users in system maintenance tasks and in performing tasks of routine nature.

They perform tasks related to control and allocation of computer resources.

Most of the computers came with built in utilities as part of the system software but they may also be bought separately as external utility programs.

Some of the tasks commonly performed by utility programs are:

    • Formatting of hard disks or floppy disks.
    • Taking backup of files stored on hard disk on to a tape or floppy disk.
    • Scanning the computer system for viruses.
    • Sorting of the records stored in a file in a particular order based on the key field.
    • Checking the amount of storage space on hard disk.

 

(a) Anti Virus: Virus is a deviant program that can cause unexpected and often undesirable effects, such as destroying or corrupting data.

Viruses can cause users to lose data/files or can shut clown the entire computer system. The viruses can replicate themselves and therefore cause severe damage to system.

Antivirus utilities are often used to cure a computer from virus infection. These utilities first identify the virus type with which a computer is infected by and destroys the virus on the spot.

It is therefore needed to install antivirus software. Antivirus utility program scans hard disks, floppy disks and memory to detect viruses. Examples of antivirus software are Norton Antivirus, McAfee’s Virus Scan etc.

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(b) File Management System: The collection of related data is called a file. The file management system utility programs are present in about all the popular operating system.

These programs are used to create or edit files. Such programs are generally used for creating small text files. These programs allow you to create new files, save files to disk, open files for editing and printing. Notepad is a text editor available in windows operating systems.

 

(c) Data Compression Tools/ Utility: This utility uses a compression algorithm to transform files into a fraction of their normal size, so that they occupy less storage space on disk.

Data compression utilities remove redundant elements, gaps and unnecessary data from a computer’s storage space so that less space is required to store or transmit data.

The utility has an associated decompression algorithm, which is used to bring back a compressed file into its normal size and form when accessed by a user.

The time required to compress and decompress the data is so small that it is not noticeable. This technique can effectively double the capacity of a disk.

 

(d) Disk management Tools/ Utility: These utilities are useful in managing the disk. Some of disk management tools are given below:

(i) Disk Cleanup: These utilities detect and correct certain types of common problems on hard disks and floppies and search for and remove unnecessary tiles such as temporary files or temp files.

When you create a word document, word will store a temp file version of it in Temp folder. When you save this document, word will save it at the desired location and delete the temp file.

The computer should delete temp tiles when a program is closed, but this does not happen and temp Folder take up space. So it is disk cleanup utility which helps in getting rid of those unnecessary tiles.

 

(ii) Disk Defragmenter: Fragmentation is the scattering of portions of files about the disk in nonadjacent areas, thus greatly slowing access to the tiles.

Disk defragmenter arranges the data on the storage device (hard disk or floppy disk) so that each file is stored in contiguous blocks rather than being scattered across different areas of the disk.

 

(iii) Backup: Data stored in a computer system can be damaged or lost in several ways such as disk crash, a virus, a hardware failure or simply an accidental erasure by its user.

Hence it is always suggested to keep backup of important data. Data backup programs are the facilities that create a duplicate copy of files.

If the original files are lost or damaged then the data can be recovered from the back up created by these utilities.


3. Application Softwares:

An application software is the set of programs necessary to carry out operations for a specified application.

The program included in an application software package are called application programs and the programmer who prepares application software are referred as application programmer.

This type of software pertains to one special application. Application softwares are used to perform tasks such as :

    • Word Processing Software
    • Spreadsheet Software
    • Games Software
    • Education Software
    • Entertainment Software
    • Database Management Software

(a) Word Processing Software:

Word processing software is the most popular software that provides extensive tool for processing of textual matter and creation of flawless documents.

These type of softwares are used to automate the day-to-day documentation jobs of an organization. These softwares enhance the appearance of text and display it in a presentable manner.

Word processing means typing, editing and formatting of text. The documents, once entered, may be saved for longer time and whenever the documents need to be reproduced with modification, it can be done with little effort.

Word Processing software can be used to generate all of your memos, letter, reports and other text intensive documents.

Word processor can enhance documents in other way i.e. one can embed sounds, videoclips and animations into it.

Some of the popular word processors are : WordStar, MS Word, WordPerfect etc.

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Microsoft Word

Showing Microsoft Word

 

(b) Spreadsheet Software:

A spreadsheet software is a software tool for entering, calculating, manipulating and analyzing sets of numbers. It is a numeric data analysis tool, which allows us to create a kind of computerized ledger.

A manual ledger is a book having rows and columns, which accountants use for keeping a record of financial transactions and for preparing financial statements.

To do work on these ledgers is a tedious task. These spreadsheets are worksheets made up of rows and columns. These spreadsheets are capable of storing and manipulating numbers, character formula etc.

These spreadsheets are capable of automatically calculating the results. Some of the Important uses of spreadsheet packages are:

  • For maintaining and analyzing inventory, payroll and accounting records by accountants.
  • For analyzing experimental results by scientists and researchers.
  • For preparing budgets.
  • For tracking stocks and keeping records of investor accounts by stock broker.
  • Microsoft Excel is the popular electronic spreadsheet package.

 

Microsoft Excel Software

Showing Microsoft Excel Software

 

(c) Presentation Tools:

Presentation tools are the application software that enable the user to create and present information to a large number of people. These softwares have ability to create data along with diagrams, photos, clipart, sound, colors, designs and animated special effects.

These are powerful communication tool that helps to present the views and ideas effectively through visual aids. The presentations can be projected on a big screen with sound system by attaching your computer to LCD Projectors.

Presentation softwares are widely used by executives of companies in advertisement compaigns of their new products.

These tools are equipped with designing and animating tools that help in making the presentation more effective. The information is presented in different types of slides.

These slides are animated to run with particular visual and sound effects. These slides are displayed in a sequence then.

Some of the popular presentation software are Microsoft Power Point etc.

 

Microsoft Powerpoint

Showing Microsoft Power point

 

(d) Database Management System:

Database Management System are the application software which are designed to create and edit databases and query data from the database as and when required by the users.

A database is a organized collection of related records. Information in database is stored in forms of rows and columns. These data is stored in databases in such a manner that it is easy to access data.

Every organization has a huge amount of data and data base management system provides commands for creation, updation, insertion and deletion of data stored in databases.

Queries can be made on these databases. Example of database management system : Microsoft Access.

 

Microsoft Access

Showing Microsoft Access

 

(e) Business Software:

Business software are the application softwares which are used to handle various business activities. For example : School Management System, Inventory Management System, Payroll System, Financial Accounting, Hotel Management, etc.

School management system helps the school authorities to manage and keep track of various school activities. Inventory management system helps the businessmen to handle the sale and purchase activities.

Payroll system keeps records of employees working hours and also generate this tax reports. Financial accounting software automates book keeping task.

Hotel management software is very useful in handling hotel and its related activities. Reservation system is quite useful in handling the airlines and railway reservation purpose.

 


FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. What is Software in Short?

Ans. Software is a set of programs which is designed to perform a work.\

Q2. Name two main types of Softwares?

Ans. System Software and Application Software.

Q3. Why Application Softwares are designed?

Ans. These are designed to develop a particular application.

Q4. Which utility protects computer from viruses?

Ans. Antivirus utilities protect the computers from viruses.

Q5. What does Word Processing means?

Ans. Word Processing means typing, editing and formatting of text.

 

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An aspiring BCA student formed an obsession with Computer/IT education, Graphic Designing, Fitness, YouTube and Blogging, and Helping Beginners to learn these skills and implement them in their life.

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