For the not too tech-savvy person, the world of computers can be very confusing.
Talk to a tech these days and all these terms that people mention can really leave you with more questions than answers.
Well, if you have always wondered, but haven’t wanted to appear like you don’t really know your tech, then here is our quick guide to what software, programs and applications are and the differences between them.
Software, which you may sometimes see abbreviated to SW or even S/W, is essentially a list of instructions that allows a person (user) to interact with a computer, or its hardware. A computer without any software is pretty useless, in the same way as you would not be able to use the internet if you did not have an internet browser.
Examples of software you might have on your computer are: Mac OS x 10 (If you use an Apple computer), Windows XP and Windows 7. These are all what is known as operating systems, which help to run your computer. Software is usually bought from a PC retailer and comes in a box including the disks, manuals and warranties to help you install. Alternatively, you can download software onto your computer via the Internet.
A (software) program refers to the most common software that is found on a computer – it is something that performs a special task or function. A computer can still function if it does not have any programs because of its operating system, but you won’t be able to do that specific task on it.
Examples of programs you might have on your computer are: Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat. So, Microsoft Word (program) is part of Microsoft 7 (software) and you cannot run the program without first having the software, (which in this case is an operating system) installed on your computer.
Sometimes referred to as apps, applications are in fact synonymous with the word program. The term app became popular with the increase of people using Apple products and Facebook. For example, with Apple the term is used to refer to the Apple App Store; accessible to anyone with an Apple device this is the online store they can go to in order to buy applications for their devices. In a nutshell, all applications are programs…. but not all programs are applications! Applications are ultimately programs designed with the end user in mind.
Hopefully now, you should be a little less confused as to what programs, apps and software are, and can talk about them with a little more confidence.