Application software classification

Application software classification

There are many different ways to divide up different types of application software, and several are explained here.
Since the development and near-universal adoption of the web, an important distinction that has emerged has been between web applications — written with HTML, JavaScript and other web-native technologies and typically requiring one to be online and running aweb browser, and the more traditional native applications written in whatever languages are available for one’s particular type of computer. There has been contentious debate in the computing community regarding web applications replacing native applications for many purposes, especially on mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets. Web apps have indeed greatly increased in popularity for some uses, but the advantages of applications make them unlikely to disappear soon, if ever. Furthermore, the two can be complementary, and even integrated. Application software can also be seen as being either horizontal or vertical. Horizontal applications are more popular and widespread, because they are general purpose, for example word processors or databases. Vertical applications are niche products, designed for a particular type of industry or business, or department within an organization. Integrated suites of software will try to handle every specific aspect possible of, for example, manufacturing or banking systems, or accounting, or customer service.
There are many types of application software:
• An application suite consists of multiple applications bundled together. They usually have related functions, features and user interfaces, and may be able to interact with each other,e.g. open each other’s files. Business applications often come in suites, e.g. Microsoft Office, LibreOffice and iWork, which bundle together a word processor, a spreadsheet, etc.; but suites exist for other purposes, e.g. graphics or music.
• Enterprise software addresses the needs of an entire organization’s processes and data flow, across most all departments, often in a large distributed environment. (Examples include financial systems, customer relationship management (CRM) systems andsupply chain management software). Departmental Software is a sub-type of enterprise software with a focus on smaller organizations and/or groups within a large organization. (Examples include travel expense management and IT Helpdesk.)
• Enterprise infrastructure software provides common capabilities needed to support enterprise software systems. (Examples include databases, email servers, and systems for managing networks and security.)
• Information worker software lets users create and manage information, often for individual projects within a department, in contrast to enterprise management. Examples include time management, resource management, documentation tools, analytical, and collaborative. Word processors, spreadsheets, email and blog clients, personal information system, and individual media editors may aid in multiple information worker tasks.
• Content access software is used primarily to access content without editing, but may include software that allows for content editing. Such software addresses the needs of individuals and groups to consume digital entertainment and published digital content. (Examples include media players, web browsers, and help browsers.)
• Educational software is related to content access software, but has the content and/or features adapted for use in by educators or students. For example, it may deliver evaluations (tests), track progress through material, or include collaborative capabilities.
• Simulation software simulates physical or abstract systems for either research, training or entertainment purposes.