Introduction to Computers/Application software

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The logos for the Open Source Software Initiative, Firefox and Linux (from left to right), Introduction_to_Computers/Application_software.

This topic will assist you in understanding software that helps people (not computers like system software).

Intellectual Property edit

License Not Ownership edit

Unless you commission (pay) someone to write software for you, when you purchase software you receive an exact copy of a piece of software most often in 'object' form to run on your computer. As the company or person who wrote the software will sell copies to many other people and businesses, they cannot sell you the software, as that implies a transfer of ownership. Instead they provide the software and provide you with a licence to use that copy.

There are many different licences, which have very different terms and conditions. Many licences restrict your use of the copy of the software. Most companies offer several different licences to customers. These vary from individual use of one copy, to large volume use licences preferred by large organizations which are cheaper per user. There are also special reduced-cost licences for educational and charitable organisations.

A few licences exist that rather than restrict your useage of software, actualy grant you, and everybody else, rights to use, copy and change software. These are known as 'Free software' licences, which are not exactly the same as 'Open source' licences.

Pirates edit

"Pirating" refers to ways of obtaining software without the permission of the software holder. Different countries hold different laws concerning the use of software, however, for the most part, pirating includes:

  • Creating a copy then selling it.
  • Creating a copy to serve as a backup. - This is permissible in some countries.


"Cracked" software can also be considered pirated software. Obtaining this type of software is risky, as your computer may contract viruses. To discourage this, software manufacturers ask for the owner to register their software. If it isn't registered it won't work properly.

Abandon edit

Abandon or Revive?

Abandonware is generally software that is older than 4 years or not sold/supported by any company (including the one that made it).

According to U.S. Law and International Treaties, a copyright belongs to the author of a software product for 70 years beyond the life of the author, or, if the work is done by a corporation or anonymous source, 95 years after the copyright date . Before the date of expiry, nobody (except the author) has the right to copy that piece of software. [1]

A Curious Note... Abandonware has started to be revived by some game manufacturers. For example; Nintendo, Atari, Activision, and Sega (to name a few) are re-releasing games that have previously been abandoned.

Shareware edit

Shareware that attempts recover deleted multimedia files

Shareware is copyrighted software with free of charge use for a limited time (usually 30 days), or small money contribution which will allow you to get updated versions and technical support. It is distributed through the internet and can be sent to friends who will pay a registration fee.

The software's distribution license often requires payment. w:Shareware

Freeware edit

Freeware is copyrighted software available for an unlimited time period and distributed at no cost. Freeware software includes public domain and propriety software. w:Freeware

'Free software' is used in place of 'freeware' but it is not the same thing. w:Freeware

Everything created with the freeware programs can be distributed at no cost w:Freeware

Because the creator of the software usually prefers to have some credit for their creations, they tend to retain control over future development (not open source)w:Freeware

Public Domain edit

Public Domain

This type of software is not under copyright, meaning that anyone may access and duplicate the software. The software may be developed by government agencies or donated by its creators, enabling complete usage for everyone to enjoy it. Public domain is defined by works that are not categorized as copyright infractions, such as works that were not eligible for copyright, or whose copyright has expired. w:Wikipedia:Public_domain

It is software that is open to the general public. w:Open_source

Open Source edit

(from left to right) OSI, Firefox and Linux

Open Source Software is software that is often free to download from the internet, and allows the programmer to change it with suggested modifications. The term Open Source Software comes from OSI (the open source software initiative) which was designed to prevent people from attempting to profit by modifying other free software. [2]

The FSF [3] Argues that there are fundamental differences between terms such as open source and free software. In order to count as free software a licence has to guarantee four things

  1. list text
          1.  The freedom to run a program for any purpose
          2.  The freedom to study how a program works, and make changes to it
          3.  The freedom to redistribute the program, either changed or unchanged
          4.  The freedom to improve a program and distribute your improved version

This does not prevent anyone from charging for either the original or modified copies of these programs. However you must pass the program on with the same rights you recieved, you cannot take a Free program and sell it under a non-free licence.

If you write a program in its entirety however, and you are the copyright holder you can release a copy as Free software and still release an improved version under a non-free licence this happens to a large number of free software projects.

An open source licence does allow you to have and read the source code for a program, but does not always grant all four of the rights listed above. Often rights 3 & 4 are restricted.

Programs such as Linux, and Firefox are examples of open source software. This software is open to the general public.

Open source will start to dominate software for providers of SAAS(software-as-a-service) within three years.Open source provides lower cost and better flexibillity. SAAS provider will help customers with open source software when it comes to a problem. Customers will have to pay for this service.

Markets edit

Commercial edit

Also called proprietary software or package software, commercial software It is offered for sale. Examples include Microsoft Word and Adobe Photo Shop. This software is copyrighted, which means the seller has rights to stop any copying without permission. Commercial software itself is not sold, what one buys is the license to use it. However, some commercial software which is used for newcomers or for financial purposes are offered for free.

Commercial software can be useful in schools, businesses, hospitals, banks, co-operate organizations, and others.


Free edit

Free software (not to be confused with freeware) is copyrighted software that does not cost anything to use. Free software is usually offered over the internet. Creators let their software go free so that they can see how users will use it, and come across any problems in that they can then fix. Free software is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of "free" as in "free speech", not as in "free beer." Free software is a matter of the users' freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. [4]


Vertical Market edit

Vertical market is a particular industry or group of enterprises in which similar products or services are developed and marketed using similar methods (and to whom goods and services can be sold). Broad examples of vertical markets are: insurance, real estate, banking, heavy manufacturing, retail, transportation, hospitals, and government.

This is how a Vertical Market Software would be developed based on a company's requirements

Vertical market software is software aimed at a particular vertical market and can be contrasted with horizontal market software (such as word processors and spreadsheet programs) that can be used in a cross-section of industries. Vertical market (or Niche Market) refers to a software developed for a group of people, usually businesses and customers that require the same type of software for their industry. Horizontal market software usually refers to something intended for a much larger consumer base.


Office edit

Word processing edit

A word processor (more formally known as document preparation system) is a computer application used for the production (including composition, editing, formatting, and possibly printing) of any sort of printable material. See w:Word_processor.

Examples of word processors are Libre Writer (all operating systems), Microsoft Word (Windows and MacOS) and Calligra Words(unix-like and Windows).

Edit edit

Editing is when the user makes alterations in the content of a specific document. Some different types of editing include: insert/delete, find & replace, cut/copy & paste, spelling checker, grammar, and dictionary/thesaurus. Everyone needs to remember that sometimes the computer is not always right. Even though that red or green line appears under the words does necessarily means that they are wrong.

Format edit

A file format is a particular way to encode information for storage in a computer file.

Since a disk drive, or indeed any computer storage, can store only bits, the computer must have some way of converting information to 0s and 1s and vice-versa. There are different kinds of formats for different kinds of information. Within any format type, e.g., word processor documents, there will typically be several different formats. Sometimes these formats compete with each other.

Format refers to the design and layout of a word document. It can refer to characters:

  • fonts (Times Roman, Arial, Courier)
  • font size
  • bold
  • italics
  • underline


  • justification
  • spacing before and afterwards
  • indenting
  • columns


  • margins
  • tables
  • decorative lines
  • borders
  • headers/footers
  • page numbers

Pre-formated documents can be made with templates and wizards.

language edit

In most word processors, an incorrectly spelled word can be corrrected corrected with the "spelling checker". This function underlines errors in red as you type. If a word is not in its dictionary, there is a special add-on button.

As well, there is a grammar checker that underlines sentences in green that are not complete, or written poorly. These grammar errors will be underlined with a different color than used for a mispelled misspelled word.

Online word processors such as Google documents can also add on extensions to do translations on the fly, making it efficient while working with foreign text.

tracking edit

Word allows you to make any changes that are made to the document visible. This is a helpful function if numerous people are editing a document. You can choose different colors for each editor and you can also have comments which are visible during mouse roll over. Document can be printed with change tracks visible or hidden.

Spreadsheets edit

w:Spreadsheets consist of rows and columns where information or data can be entered in the same manner as the book-keeping ledgers of days gone by. Spreadsheets were one of the first commercial uses of the computer, using financial data. Spreadsheet programs such as Microsoft Excel, Libre Calc or w:Calligra_Sheets:Calligra Sheets enable the user to enter data (text, numbers or symbols) into rows and columns.

The operator is able to perform simple calculations or create graphs from the data - quickly and easily - create and manipulate spreadsheets electronically. Other uses such as mileage logs, employee hours, benefits information can all be used in the spreadsheet program.

label/value edit

Labels can be found on a spreadsheet. Labels are descriptive text that identifies categories. Ex: Rent, October, etc.

Value is a number or date that can be entered into a cell on a spreadsheet. Ex: dollars, grade points, etc.

formula/function edit

Formula is the instruction for calculation in a spreadsheet. Ex: =A5+C16

Functions are formulas that can be used in a spreadsheet for calculating common equations. =SUM(A5:C16)

format edit

Formatting is changing the appearance of the document, such as using bold letters, writing in italics or changing the color of the font. You can also format by changing the amount of rows and columns, or the alignment of your document.

Another type of formatting is adding headers/footers and page numbers.

chart edit

Charts, also called Analytical Graphics or Business Graphics, make interpreting numeric information easier because it is arranged as bar or pie charts so relatively values are visually apparent.

Databases edit

relational edit

A relational database is a collection of data items organized as a set of formally-described tables from which data can be accessed or reassembled in many different ways without having to reorganize the database tables. The relational database was invented by E. F. Codd at IBM in 1970. The standard interface to a relational database is the structured query language (SQL). SQL statements are used both for interactive queries for information from a relational database and for gathering data for reports. In addition to being relatively easy to create and access, a relational database has the important advantage of being scalable. After the original database creation, a new data category can be added without requiring that all existing applications be changed.

All databases have tables. And all tables have rows (called records) and columns (called fields). But a relational database has a record in one table the same as one (or many) on another. For instance your name is housed once on a table of student records, but many times on a table of students enrolled in courses (assuming you have enrolled in many courses).

integrity/integration edit

Database integrity refers to the check that data entered into a database is accurate and valid. "Rules" applied to entities within the database ensures that data entered into these entities follows the "rule(s)", thus making the data valid, accurate and consistent.

table/form edit

Tables are organized in rows (records) and columns (fields). You can type data directly into a table, or you can use a form to fill the contents of a record in. Forms are popular with users.

query/report edit

Query is a form of questioning in a line of inquiry. A query may also refer to precise request for information. There are different ways of specifying query, query language and data base query language. Reports are printed documents containing data from a database.

PIMs edit

Stands for Personal Information Manager. These are applications or software that are used to organize personal information such as notes, address books and reminders etc. They have independent (non-linked) tables and are therefore NOT databases.


Some popular PIMs are Microsoft Outlook, GNOME Evolution and Mozilla Thunderbird .

Presentation edit

A w:Presentation program is a computer software package used to display information, normally in the form of a slide show. It typically includes three major functions: an editor that allows text to be inserted and formatted, a method for inserting and manipulating graphic images and a slide-show system to display the content.w:Presentation_program

Presentations take place when someone has a information on a specific topic and demonstrates to an audience. Computer presentations usually use a presentation software, such as Microsoft PowerPoint, Libre Impress or Calligra Stage for presentation

templates edit

A template is a document that is pre-formatted. This provides tools needed to change the layout, style, and text of the final document. For example the pre-created slides in PowerPoint.

- Most programs come with built-in templates (such as brochure outlines in Adobe Illustrator), but additional templates can be downloaded from product sites such as Microsoft or just by searching on the web for designs.

You can download templates from online!

Templates can also be created by yourself

design edit

Designing slides or pages in a presentation program allows the inserting and placement of text, graphics, movies, and other objects in a user defined way using drag and drop features.

outline edit

Outline is when one will create a series of slides or pages and the user can see an overview of them and add comments on each slide. The user can then more easily see the whole presentation by viewing it in an outline format.

animation edit

Animation in a presentation software allows the user to key positions for the motion of graphics or the user can used predefined motion for the user to use. Animation is used in lots of different media types such as; videos, games, and movies. An example of animation is Simpsons.

In presentation software animation describes how the slides come into view in presentation mode.

Animations can be produced by various programs, and one of the early format was the gif format. It works by layering picture on top of each other in a certain time frame to create a moving picture. This concept is introduced in Flash to speed up the production process. Flash can recognize object and targets and save time by allowing modifications without redrawing every single slide.

Business edit

financial edit


Financial Software can range from personal finance managers to entry level accountant programs and business financial management packages. This software is a powerful management tool as well as a small business program. Financial software can also consist of investment software packages and retirement planning. Financial software is a range of different programs that can be installed onto a computer to aid in the organization of accounts, numbers, employee information, etc. It can be used to start a business from scratch or to do one's taxes. It is an spreadsheet type program that does all the 'hard' work for the user. All that the customer needs to do, is enter the appropriate numbers into the appropriate place..and viola....the computer will organize all of the information and calculate anything that the user wants. MYOB is an example of a financial software company. They provide help to financial software owners such as accountants and business owners [5].

project management edit

Project management is an organized effort in order to accomplish a task. For example, creating a new computer program. Project management requires a project plan which defines the goals and objectives, what resources are needed ext. It also requires a project plan, which acts as a map or guideline on how the project should be approached.

CAD/CAM edit

Crankshaft Piston Model Design in CAD

Computer-Aided Design (w:CAD) is the use of computer processing to aid in the design of a product. These designs range from 2D Vector drafting systems to 3D modelling systems that can auto generate 2D drafts for distribution.

Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) is the use of software tools that assist engineers and machinists to create in prototype product components for the end goal of manufacture. CAM is used in conjunction with CAD. The first CAM was first used in 1971 for car body design.

CAD or computer aided design usually used by civil engineers and architects CAM or computer aided manufacturing allows products to be input into a manufacturing system This can make 2D drawings or 3D models of objects being designed

Some example software used for 2D CAD or Drafting would be w:LibreCAD and w:QCAD. There are not many 2D drafting only applications for designer's most focus on 3D with CAM and Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) featues now. There are suites of software for the purpose of 3D design but two renown suites would be w:Autodesk or w:Dassault Systèmes as both make a range of software for CAD but for Autodesk; w:AutoCAD, Fusion 360, Inventor and Revit are popular CAD software's. For Dassault Systèmes; w:CATIA and w:SolidWorks are the popular 3D design software's. There is also the free w:FreeCAD but is not widely used.

art edit

draw/paint/photo edit

Drawing software allows us to design , illustrate objects and products. Painting allows us to simulate a paintbrush.

Photo allows us to edit and post photos onto our computer.

Paint can be used to edit pictures

video/animation edit

Example of traditional animation.

An animation is a rapid sequence of images used to create the appearance of motion. This is mostly used in video games, motion pictures and video programs. A video is transmitted in two ways: One, a file as movie or video or second, a file as a streaming video. There are 3 types of animation; traditional animation, stop motion and computer animation. Traditional animation was the process most commonly used in animated films of the 20th century. Stop motion refers to animation created by manipulating objects and photographing them to create the illusion of movement. Digital animation is created digitally or on a computer.

desktop publishing edit

Desktop publishing is used to produce high quality commercial printing by mixing text and graphics. Desktop publishing combines a personal computer and page layout software to create publication documents on a computer for either large scale publishing or small scale publishing.

multimedia authoring edit

Multimedia authoring combines text, graphics, video, animation, and sound in an integrated way to create stand-alone multimedia applications.

Multimedia applications were uncommon until about the mid-'90's because of the necessary hardware and it's expense.

web design edit


Web design is a process of conceptualization, planning, modeling, and the execution of electronic media delivery via Internet. It is in the form of Markup language (the "ML" in HTML or XML) suitable for interpretation by Web browser and display as Graphical user interface (GUI).

Web design is intended for the base of web pages, its a collection of electronic files that are on a web server. w:Web_design Web pages are typically classified as static or dynamic. w:Web_design

Web App edit

Google is offering to host enterprise Web applications on its own infrastructure with a new tool for developers, App Engine. Similar to Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud and Salesforce's Appexchange less expensive.

Google's goal is to make it easy to start with a new web application, and then easy to scale.

App Engine is based on technologies Google already uses. It is powered by Bigtable, a distributed storage system currently used by its Google Earth service, and by Google's own file system GFS.

This is a pilot launch by Google; the version launched on Monday is a preview release, and is by no means feature complete, and only 10,000 developers will be able to sign up initially, but that number will increase.

During the preview period, capacity will also be limited. Applications will for example be able to use 500M bytes of storage, and transmit up to 10G bytes of data per day. Google expects most applications will be able to serve around 5 million page views per month within those limits.

The price the service is not relaeased, but applications operating within the limitations of the preview release will remain free, even when App Engine goes live.

App Engine will initially only support applications written in Python, but Google is looking to add support for other languages as well. [6]

See Also edit

Computer Software

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