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Software vs Application: Let’s Discuss the Difference
How about software vs application? To make it easier we are going to start by knowing a little bit more about what software is. In simple understanding software is a terminology that is used to called computer part which is not tangible. The tangible component of computers. In short everything else in your computer that makes it able to run any data processing is software. So, is application part of software? In fact application is part of software. But, not all software’s are application. Basically application is a particular software that performs particular task.
Application is executable
The main difference between an application and software is that application is executable. As its main using goal, an application performs particular task. Therefore, it is executable. Different from its function, a software cannot perform specific programming task. Task for example, when you find device drivers, images, documents, and manuals in your computers these all are software, not application.
Which one is more specific?
Yes, application it is. Since it has to perform specific task, applications are sometimes limited to particular operating systems. Let’s say there are several applications that can be run in Mac only and you cannot install them into different operating system take for example Linux platform. While software may not recognize platforms or operating system of your computer. So, which one is software? Have you ever heard about DOS OS? A DOS operating system is an example of software that contains multiple executable to make it works properly in your computer.
How application work in your computer
So, how does an application work? Generally an application will work due to its function and it needs you to interact with the application in order to make it work. Take for example, an antivirus. It is a type of security software that is similar to application. To scan your computer you have to manually set the application either you want to scan it manually or automatically. At the same time the application also needs to be updated from time to time. It is important to improve the performance and to make sure it works well like its function.
In contrast, software does not need to contact to the computer users in order to perform its task. It is automatically working once you turned on the computer. Different from application, software does not always need to be updated in short period. Re-installing the software of your computer even means you are re-installing the whole applications and operating system of your computer that might make you lose all of your data. At last, don’t confuse when you are thinking about software vs application.
- Software is an all-encompassing term for computer data while an application is a type of software that does a certain task.
- Applications are executable while software may or may not be executable.
- Applications are often operating system specific while software are not necessarily so.
- Applications usually need user interaction to function while software does not necessarily have to.
Software is an all-encompassing term that is used in contrast to hardware, which are the tangible components of a computer. So everything else in your computer that is not hardware is software. An application is basically a type of software. So the difference between software and application is very much like the difference between a rectangle (software) and a square (application); all applications are software, but not all software are applications.
A main point that makes a software an application is that it’s executable. The main goal of an application is to perform a specific task or range of tasks. It is therefore important that it is able to execute and perform its instructions in order to achieve this. If a piece of software is not executable, then it cannot be considered as an application. Device drivers, manuals, images, and documents are only a few of the software that are not applications.
Also a side effect of the previous statement is the fact that applications are limited to certain operating systems. A Windows application can’t execute in a Mac or Linuxplatform and is therefore not considered as applications in the aforementioned operating systems. Although software may or may not be recognized on different platforms, it does not change the fact that it is still considered as software.
Being executable is not exclusive to applications though as some executable are not considered as applications. An example of this would be software that is a part of the operating system. This is very apparent in the antiquated DOS OS. A DOS installation contains multiple executable that are necessary for it to function properly. These are not considered as applications.
Finally, in order for an application to be useful, it needs user interaction. Even antivirus and other type of security software which try to be as unobtrusive as possible require some user interaction from time to time. In contrast, majority of computer users are unaware about the BIOS software and device drivers despite their importance in the functionality of a computer.