Learn More About Major Types of Software Every Computer Whiz Must Know About

Software, by definition, is the collection of computer programs, procedures and documentation that performs different tasks on a computer system. The term ‘software’ was first used by John Tukey in 1958. At the very basic level, computer software consists of a machine language that comprises groups of binary values, which specify processor instructions. The processor instructions change the state of computer hardware in a predefined sequence. Briefly, computer software is the language in which a computer speaks. There are different types of computer software. What are their major types? Let us see.

Programming Software: This is one of the most commonly known and popularly used types of computer software. These software come in the form of tools that assist a programmer in writing computer programs. Computer programs are sets of logical instructions that make a computer system perform certain tasks. The tools that help programmers in instructing a computer system include text editors, compilers and interpreters. Compilers translate source code written in a programming language into the language which a computer understands (mostly the binary form). Compilers generate objects which are combined and converted into executable programs through linkers. Debuggers are used to check code for bugs and debug it. The source code is partially or completely simulated for the debugging tool to run on it and remove bugs if any. Interpreters execute programs. They execute the source code or a precompiled code or translate source code into an intermediate language before execution.

System Software: It helps in running computer hardware and the computer system. System software refers to the operating systems; device drivers, servers, windowing systems and utilities. System software helps an application programmer in abstracting away from hardware, memory and other internal complexities of a computer. An operating system provides users with a platform to execute high-level programs. Firmware and BIOS provide the means to operate hardware.

Application Software: It enables the end users to accomplish certain specific tasks. Business software, databases and educational software are some forms of application software. Different word processors, which are dedicated to specialized tasks to be performed by the user, are other examples of application software.

Malware: Malware refers to any malicious software and is a broader category of software that are a threat to computer security. Adware, spyware, computer viruses, worms, trojan horses and scareware are malware. Computer viruses are malicious programs which replicate themselves and spread from one computer to another over the network or the Internet. Computer worms do the same, the only difference being that viruses need a host program to attach with and spread, while worms don’t need to attach themselves to programs. Trojans replicate themselves and steal information. Spyware can monitor user activity on a computer and steal user information without their knowledge.

Adware: Adware is software with the means of which advertisements are played and downloaded to a computer. Programmers design adware as their tool to generate revenue. They do extract user information like the websites he visits frequently and the pages he likes. Advertisements that appear as pop-ups on your screen are the result of adware programs tracking you. But adware is not harmful to computer security or user privacy. The data it collects is only for the purpose of inviting user clicks on advertisements.

There are some other types of computer software like inventory management software, ERP, utility software, accounting software among others that find applications in specific information and data management systems. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Inventory Management Software: This type of software helps an organization in tracking its goods and materials on the basis of quality as well as quantity. Warehouse inventory management functions encompass the internal warehouse movements and storage. Inventory software helps a company in organizing inventory and optimizing the flow of goods in the organization, thus leading to improved customer service.

Utility Software: Also known as service routine, utility software helps in the management of computer hardware and application software. It performs a small range of tasks. Disk defragmenters, systems utilities and virus scanners are some of the typical examples of utility software.

Data Backup and Recovery Software: An ideal data backup and recovery software provides functionalities beyond simple copying of data files. This software often supports user needs of specifying what is to be backed up and when. Backup and recovery software preserve the original organization of files and allow an easy retrieval of the backed up data.

Types of Software and their Licensing

A software license determines the way in which that software can be accessed and used. Depending on the software licensing, the end users have rights to copy, modify or redistribute the software. While some software have to be bought, some are available for free on the Internet. Some licenses allow you to use, copy and distribute the software while others allow only one of the three operations. In some software, the source code is made available to the end users, while in others it is not. Here we will see the ways in which different types of software are distributed to users.

Custom Software: Software that is developed for a specific user or organization is custom software. Since it is built for a specific user, its specifications and features are in accordance with the user’s needs.

Off-the-Shelf Software: As opposed to custom software, off-the-shelf software is standard software bought off the shelf. It has predefined specifications that may or may not cater to any specific user’s requirements. When you buy it, you agree to its license agreement.

Free Software: Software that a user is free to use, modify and distribute is known as free software. Free software generally comes free of cost but charges may be involved in distribution, servicing and maintenance. The term free refers to freedom of copying, distributing and modifying.

Open Source and Closed Source Software: In a closed source model, the source code is not released to public, while the source code is available for modification and use in open source software. Open source software is available in its source code form and the rights to change, improve and sometimes distribute its code are given under a software license. Software developed by an individual or an organization, where the source code is closed from public (not available openly) is referred to as closed source software.

Proprietary Software: In proprietary software, legal rights remain exclusively with the copyright holder. Most proprietary software are available in the closed source form. Some vendors distribute proprietary software source code to the customers, however, with restricted access. Proprietary software is provided as shareware or demoware wherein users do not have to pay for use and it is distributed as trialware. There are no packaging costs involved. However the programmer may ask you to pay a small fee after which you are entitled to receive assistance and updates of that software.

Shareware and Retail Software: While shareware is provided as a trial version to users, retail software is sold to end users. With the increasing availability of shareware and freeware on the web, the retail market is changing. Developers and vendors have started offering their software over the Internet. At times, shareware is made available as crippleware, wherein its main features do not work after the trial period has ended. In other words, such shareware has to be purchased to enable its crippled features. Though shareware is a very popular form in which software is distributed, retail software is not obsolete. Microsoft Office, for example, is a retail software package that has to be bought. Retail software may be given as an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Pack. Here, the software developer gives a licensed copy of the software to a computer manufacturer who installs it on computers before they are sold. In the Box Pack form, a licensed copy of the software is bought from an authorized retail outlet.

This was an overview of the major types of software and their ways of distribution. Computer software are widely popular today and we cannot imagine computers without them. We would not have been able to use computers with so much ease, if not for software. What is fascinating about computers is that they have their own languages and their own ways of communicating with us humans. And their means to communicate are these different types of computer software.

Step to Get a Good Forum Software That Suits For You

s3The Evolution of Internet Forums
The earliest Internet forums were like newsgroups, where people posted comments on someone else’s reply. The modern ones, like you know, are more sophisticated and offer a large variety of features.
Forums are one of the best places online for sharing information, exchanging thoughts, discussing problems, getting help and troubleshooting advice. These are the only places where even extremists can communicate with each other without any bloodshed. From a social point of view, forums are very useful for building a community of people interested in a particular domain. Business owners can also deploy forums where their employees can have discussions about work and the challenges that they are facing. So, if you don’t know anything about forums, read this Buzzle article to know how to choose a forum software.

Selecting a forum software is not very tough if you know what you are looking for. It all depends on what you need. It’s like comparing Windows with Mac OS. Each has its own upsides and downsides. There isn’t a single best forum software. So, before choosing a forum software, you should ask yourself the following questions.
– Can it import the contents from my previous forum?
If you are already running a forum and simply want to migrate to a new forum having better performance and more features, then this is the most important question that you should ask to the support staff of the new forum software. Many developers help their clients to migrate to their software. Some software can also import data and settings from different versions of software from different companies.
Good luck to you, if you are ignoring this point!
If you are an IT pro, then you should try to find about the complications involved in migrating from one forum software to the other. You should also research what others using the same platform as yours are using for deploying forums. If you are lucky, then you might find solutions to all of your future problems.
– How well does it support customizations?
Almost all popular forum software allow you to customize the way the forum looks. It involves changing background color, font customizations, adding a custom logo, changing footer links, etc. Some software also support emoticons and custom URL structure by default. You should also check if it allows users to customize their profiles with images and GIF avatars, quotes, links, etc. Forum users are very emotional about their profiles and avatars. You better take this seriously.
– What type of comments system is best for your community? Threaded or flat?
In forums, the discussions are in the form of posts (comments). So, you need to have some kind of system in place which can differentiate between replies to the topic, or replies to some particular post. There are 2 major kinds of comment systems in place for achieving this:

i.Threaded Comments: In this system, the replies are sorted according to their time of posting and indenting. For e.g.: If User A replies to a comment posted by User B, then his comment will appear just below the comment of User B, slightly indented towards the right irrespective to its posting time. This system is very efficient for smaller communities where people post short replies. Things can soon get messy if a lot of people post long replies to a single comment.
ii.Flat Comments: It sorts comments according to their posting time, and also allows the users to quote someone’s reply while replying back. This is especially good for very large communities. Its main downside is that original commenter won’t know if someone has replied to his comment, but this is usually ignored because in large communities people usually check all the pages of a thread while looking for the required information.
– Does it permit the users to subscribe to a particular thread?
The forum software should prompt the commenter if he wants to be notified of all comments to the thread by email. Many users find this very useful as it allows them to stay updated with all of information right in their mailbox.
– Does it support social media integration and single sign-on?
You should check if the users of your forum would like to share the comments that they post via social networks. You can also reduce the hassle of signing up to your forum by enabling single sign-on (signing-in using social accounts) if your software supports it.
– How good is it for SEO?
All the latest forum software allow the content to be indexed by search engines. They are all search engine-friendly. It’s just that some are very good for SEO and some are just okay. You can find this information by reading the reviews of forum software.
– Does it have support for gamification?
Gamification is the greatest way of encouraging people to post good comments and participate in the community. The software should have options for assigning badges, promoting the users’ ability to include links/GIFs in signature, etc.
– What kind of permissions and roles can you set?
You should also be able to set permissions for which user is able to view which content. For e.g.: You might want to let the web crawlers index your content but not let a user browse through the content without signing up. You should also be able to put bans in place and give more privileges to some users based on their role and reputation in the community.
– Does it have a mobile-friendly design?
These days, people browse the web more often from their mobiles and tablets than using their laptops and desktop computers. It would be better if your forum has a mobile-friendly, i.e., responsive design. Responsive designs can adjust themselves to any screen size and resolutions, thus improving the user experience greatly.
– Does it have any form of built-in web analytics?
You can always use traditional web analytics tools like Google Analytics and Clicky, but the data provided by them is not relevant for a forum admin. Many forum software like Vanilla have an built-in analytics tool not only providing data in the form of page views, visits, visits per user, and time on site, but also in the form of number of new users, active users, contributing users, discussions, comments and users per discussions. These insights are highly valuable while formulating a new growth strategy.
– Does it support tagging users?
All forum software support personal messages. The latest ones enable users to tag others, just like Twitter. This can be a very useful feature if you are planning to make a community for troubleshooting problems.
– Where are the ad slots?
If you plan to earn some money from the forum, then you should always look for those software which have ad slots in prominent spots and support scripts from popular advertising networks. The code should also be easily customizable to add scripts in various other places.
– What are the moderation tools like?
The forum software should support inline moderation tools. The moderators should be able to ban and warn users. They should also be able to edit/delete and set some thread/discussions as sticky. A good forum software should also allow the users to report a comment as spammy/racist/inflammatory.
– What protection does it have against spam bots?
Just like a website, a forum can also get easily flooded with spam comments. Many software come with in-built anti-spam features which can detect spam. It should also allow the admin to block sign-ups from a range of flagged IP addresses and email ids. Many communities add no-follow attribute to all external links. This helps them in maintaining their ranking in search engines, even if someone replies with a link to a bad website. The software should also have some comment limit in place for new members along with proper flood control.

These are not all but some of the most important questions whose answers will help you in selecting a forum software especially tailored for your needs.

Some Software Which Helps to Understand A Concept

s2If hardware can be said to form the body of a computer system, software is its mind. Software refers to computer programs, procedures and documentation that performs certain tasks on a computer system. Following is an extensive list of the examples of different kinds of software.
Application Software
Application software is that which is designed for the end-users and hence these software are also known as end-user programs. It employs the capabilities of a computer to execute tasks that the user wishes to perform on a computer system. Look at the various examples of application software. They are:
Content Access Software
Educational Software
Enterprise Software
Information Worker Software
Media Development Software
Product Engineering Software
Simulation Software

Content Access Software
They are used to access content without editing it. Electronic media software such as media players, editor players as also web browsers, which allow user access to web content are some examples of content access software. Game consoles and entertainment software are also examples of content access software.
Educational Software
They are used to deliver tests and track progress. They are used for educational purposes. Training management and classroom management software are some examples of educational software. The software used for purposes of edutainment, a form of entertainment that aims at educating the masses, is also a type of educational software.
Enterprise Software
It caters to the needs of organization processes and data flow. Customer relationship management and supply chain management software are good examples of enterprise software. Enterprise infrastructure software supports enterprise software systems.
Information Worker Software
It caters to the needs of an individual to manage information pertaining to a project or a single department. Resource management software and documentation tools are some of the popularly used information worker software.
Media Development Software
They are used for generating print and electronic media in the educational and commercial sector. Image organizers and image editing software, animation software like Flash, audio and video editors as well as the web development software are some examples of media development software.
Product Engineering Software
This software is used in the development of hardware and software products. Application programming interfaces and integrated development environment (IDEs) are the well-known examples of product engineering software. Program testing tools, debuggers, compilers and CAD are some other examples of this type of software.
Simulation Software
They are used for the simulation of physical and abstract systems. Computer simulators that are used for simulating scientific concepts and social ideas, battlefield, vehicle and flight simulators are some of the popular examples of simulation software.
Programming Languages
They are artificial languages that are used to write programs that control the functioning of a computer system. They are the building blocks of computer applications. Go through the complete list of the different programming languages.
System Software
It is a computer software that manages and controls hardware in order to enable application software to perform its tasks. System software performs functions like transferring data from memory to the disk or delivering text onto a display device. Following are the different kinds of system software.
Device Drivers
Linkers
Loading Programs
Operating Systems

Device Drivers
They are computer programs, which facilitate the interaction of high-level computer programs with hardware devices. Drivers also provide interrupt-handling mechanisms.
Linkers
A linker is a program that takes the objects generated by a compiler and combines them to form a single executable program.
Loading Programs
Loaders are used for loading programs from executable files into memory, making them ready for execution and then executing them. It is a part of the kernel of an operating system.
Operating Systems
An operating system manages and coordinates the activities of a computer. It hosts the applications running on a computer system and also provides certain services to application programs and users. Microsoft Windows and Linux are two of the most commonly used operating systems. There are mobile operating systems like Android, iOS and Mac which are quite popular among mobile users.
Utility Software
It helps in the management of computer hardware and application software. It performs a small range of tasks. Utility software are also known as service routines. Here are some examples of utility software.
Application Launchers
Archive Utilities
Compression Utilities
Disk Defragmenters
Editor Utilities
Encryption Utilities
Network Managers
Registry Cleaners
System Profilers
System Utilities
Virus Scanners
Screensavers

Application Launchers
They provide application software with an access point to run on a computer system.
Archive Utilities
They output a single file or a stream when provided with a directory or a set of files.
Compression Utilities
When they are provided with a file or a single stream, they present the input stream in a compressed form.
Disk Defragmenters
They detect computer files whose contents are stored in the form of disjoint fragments and move the fragments together. A disk checker scans the contents of a hard disk to detect corrupted areas. A disk cleaner helps in segregating the unnecessary files that can be deleted, which are still residing on the hard disk.
Editor Utilities
Editor utilities directly modify data or files without changing the actual program. They come in forms of binary, hex and text editor utilities.
Encryption Utilities
When they are provided with plain text and an accompanying key, they use encryption algorithms to output the encrypted stream.
Network Managers
They check computer networks, data transfers and log events.
Registry Cleaners
They remove the old registry entries, thus cleaning and optimizing the windows registry. There are a number of popular registry cleaners available today.
System Profilers
They provide computer users with information about software and hardware in the computer system. Backup software are capable of making a copy of all the information on a system or of selected files. Disk compression software is used to compress the data on a disk so that more amount of information can fit onto it.
System Utilities
They are a set of different utility programs that provide methods for routine data management tasks like modifying, copying, merging, renaming and cataloging data sets.
Virus Scanners
They scan for viruses on a computer system. They are widely known as antivirus software.
Screensavers
They are utility software designed with the purpose of preventing phosphor burn-in of CRT displays. Phosphor burn-in is the discoloration of certain areas on the display due to improper usage of pixels. Screensavers blank the screen or fill it with images, when the display is not in use.
Content-control software
It refers to the software designed for controlling content that is permitted for the user to access. It can determine what content will be available on a particular machine or network. Content-control software are commonly used at homes and in schools to restrict the content that can be accessed over the Internet by children.
Data Recovery Software
Apart from the facility of copying data files, data recovery software supports user needs of backing up important computer data. It allows the user to specify what is to be backed up and when.
Open Source Software
The concept of open source software refers to computer software, whose source code is available to the users (is in the public domain). Users are allowed to use, modify, improve and redistribute open source software. Linux is a well-known example of an open source software.
Proprietary Software
Contrary to open source software, proprietary software involves restrictions on its use. The creators of proprietary software restrict source code access through legal means or through technical measures.
Portable Software
It is an important class of software, which includes software that are suitable for portable devices. Portable software is used on portable drives like USB and Palm PDA.
Project Management Software
It refers to the software used for scheduling, budget management and resource allocation. It comprises collaboration software and documentation systems.
Shareware
The term refers to commercial software that is distributed on a trial basis. It is distributed without payment and with limited functionality. Shareware is commonly offered in a downloadable format on the Internet. The distribution of this kind of software aims at giving the users a chance to analyze the software before they become its licensed users.
Spyware
The basic purpose of spyware is monitoring user behavior. It can also collect personal information, redirect browser activity and change computer settings.
Weblog Software
It consists of a content management system created for maintaining weblogs.

Types Of Software Applications Based The Function

s1Computer software is defined as a set of programs and procedures that are intended to perform specific tasks on a computer system. A software program is a set of instructions that are aimed at changing the state of computer hardware. At the lowest level, software is in the form of an assembly language, a set of instructions in a machine-understandable form. At the highest level, software is in the form of high-level languages, which are compiled or interpreted into machine language code.
Major Types of Software
Computer software systems are classified into three main types, namely, system software, programming software and application software. System software comprises device drivers, operating systems, servers and other such software components, which help the programmer abstract away from the memory and hardware features of the system. Programming software assists a programmer in writing programs by providing him/her with tools such as editors, compilers, linkers, debuggers and more. Application software, one of the most important types of software, are used to achieve certain specific tasks.
What is Application Software?
Application software utilizes the capacities of a computer directly for a dedicated task. It is able to manipulate text, numbers and graphics. It can be in the form of software focused on a certain single task like word processing, spreadsheets or playing of audio and video files. Here we look at the application software types along with some examples of the software of each type.
Different Types of Application Software
– Word Processing Software
This software enables users to create and edit documents. The most popular examples of this type of software are MS-Word, WordPad and Notepad among other text editors.
– Database Software
Database is a structured collection of data. A computer database relies on database software to organize data and enable database users to perform database operations. Database software allows users to store and retrieve data from databases. Examples are Oracle, MSAccess, etc.
– Spreadsheet Software
Excel, Lotus 1-2-3 and Apple Numbers are some examples of spreadsheet software. These software allow users to perform calculations using spreadsheets. They simulate paper worksheets by displaying multiple cells that make a grid.
– Multimedia Software
They allow users to create and play audio and video files. They are capable of playing media files. Audio converters, audio players, burners, video encoders and decoders are some forms of multimedia software. Examples of this type include Real Player and Media Player.
– Presentation Software
The software that is used to display information in the form of a slide show is known as presentation software. This type of software includes three functions, namely, editing that allows insertion and formatting of text, methods to include graphics in the text and a functionality of executing slide shows. Microsoft PowerPoint is the best example of presentation software.
– Enterprise Software
It deals with the needs of organizational processes and data flow. Customer relationship management or the financial processes in an organization are carried out with the help of enterprise software.
– Information Worker Software
Individual projects within a department and with individual needs of creation and management of information are handled by information worker software. Documentation tools, resource management tools and personal management systems fall under this category of application software.
– Educational Software
It has the capabilities of running tests and tracking progress. It also has the capabilities of a collaborative software. It is often used in teaching and self-learning. Dictionaries like Britannica and Encarta, mathematical software like MATLAB and others like Google Earth and NASA World Wind are some of the well-known names in this category.
– Simulation Software
Used to simulate physical or abstract systems, simulation software finds applications in both, research and entertainment. Flight simulators and scientific simulators are examples of simulation software.
– Content Access Software
It is used to access content without editing. Common examples of content access software are web browsers and media players.
– Application Suites
An application suite is an important type of application software. It consists of a group of applications combined to perform related functions. OpenOffice and Microsoft Office are the best examples of this type of application software. These application suites, as you know, come as bundles of applications like word processors, spreadsheets, presentation software, etc. Applications in the suite can work together or operate on each other’s files.
– Software that aid Engineering and Development of Products
These software are used in the design and development of hardware and software products. Integrated development environments (IDE) and computer language editing tools fall under this type of application software. Interestingly, software products are developed using other software, and software communicate with one another through software. Application programming interfaces which aid the communication of two or more software, are examples of this application software type.

Application software are available in different forms such as these.
Licensed
A majority of software applications are licensed and not sold. In this case, a user purchases a software license and not the software itself. The vendor allows for the installation of this software on a specific number of machines. Sometimes, the license is limited to a certain number of users. Most software licenses allow you to run the application on only one machine, although you are allowed to copy the software on other machines for backup purposes. Licenses disallow the resale of software.
Sold
As opposed to licensed software, these software are sold to users. You need to purchase this type of software from the vendor in which case, you own a legitimate copy of the software. This allows you to resale the software.
As Freeware
Application software that can be downloaded, used and copied without any restrictions is known as freeware. Generally small programs are released as freeware and are open for use.
As Shareware
These application software can be downloaded but you need to pay some amount for using them. Generally, mid-size software developed by software companies are made available as shareware.
Open Source
Open source software, as their name suggests, are made available with their source code. The code is open for modification and use. People mistake open source software for free. But note that here, ‘free’ refers to the freely available source code, thus making the software open for further development by users.
Needs to be Installed
This is true with many application software; for example spreadsheet software, word processors, data management software, etc. They need to be installed on your computer hard drive for use.
Runs Online
Antivirus software runs online. Similarly, Internet games that you can play online and which don’t need to be downloaded fall under this category.
Simply put, application software are those designed for specific purposes, or meant for specific applications. Application software are of great use in completing individual and organizational tasks, as they have user-friendly features and are easy and interactive to use.