Software is customarily divided into two main categories. System software — the programs and routines needed to make a computer run, for example, the operating system — is one category. Application software, or app software, are the programs made to run on one or more systems — that is, in conjunction with one or more types of system software — that allow users to perform a variety of tasks. There are many different types of app software, including programs by competing manufacturers that perform similar tasks.
There are some main categories of app software. One might divide them many ways, but one way would be software programs that interact with the Internet and app software that operates entirely or mainly within the context of the user’s computer or mobile device, or alternatively, in the cloud. In the realm of Internet app software, one finds web browsers, which allow users to interact with web sites and web pages; web design programs and blogging software that allow the creation of web pages of various types; email clients, which retrieve email from remote servers and send email to remote addresses; instant messaging software, including facilities for text, audio, and video interaction; webinar software, which is souped-up instant messaging with added abilities to share documents, reveal one’s desktop, etc.; and File Transfer Protocol (FTS) programs, which support file exchange between computers via the Internet.
App software that forms the backbone of many businesses and educational profiles includes word processing apps that allow the creation and editing of text files, replacing a typewriter and including some functions of a desktop publishing program; database apps for creating, editing, sorting, and creating reports from data; spreadsheets for collection and analysis of data; and presentation graphics, programs for creating slide shows with text, graphics, data, or multimedia. Other app software includes management systems such as content management systems (CMS), learning management systems (LMS), project management and content management. Specialized mathematical and scientific programs are also available.
App software with a creative bent includes image software — whether using vector or raster graphics, and whether for drawing, CAD (computer assisted drawing), or editing photographs; development tools for creating new software; multimedia creation software, including music and movie programs; and desktop publishing software for combining text and graphics into page layouts. Games and educational software — including instructional material and assessments — and diagramming software to capture thoughts and processes, are other kinds of app software.