a software package that runs on a computer and performs a specific set of actions for the user or another application. Application software forms the basis of computing in the modern world.
Application software is available for all kinds of computing tasks like web designing, graphics processing, word processing, data analysis, etc. When an application software is run on a computer, it interacts with the Operating System (OS) or other applications already residing on the system. Web applications are applications intended to run on web browsers, unlike traditional application programs that run locally on the device's OS.
Application software can interact with other applications using the application programming interface (API). An API is a set of rules and best practices that allow two applications to interact.
Real World Example of Application
Applications enable users to complete computing tasks on their local computers and the Web. One of the most popular applications, also called apps, in the world is TikTok. TikTok is a video sharing and social networking application developed in China. As of 2020, it has garnered over 800 million downloads globally.
Video conferencing applications like Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams have added several millions of new users during the Coronavirus pandemic. Most businesses, schools, colleges moved towards remote interactions with these video conferencing applications during the pandemic. As of 2020, Zoom has recorded over 450 million downloads, closely followed up by Google Meet with over 250 million downloads.
Most governments developed applications to securely track and trace COVID-infected patients. Aarogya Setu is India's implementation of a contact tracing application. It has over 200 million downloads making it the most popular application of its kind worldwide.
Types of Application
There are several application programs available in the market to satisfy various user requirements. A presentation application helps users put forward their thoughts and ideas clearly and concisely using visual representations. It allows the users to divide and display information in the form of slides. Microsoft Powerpoint is probably the most popular presentation application in the world. It is packaged along with the other programs as part of the Microsoft Office product.
Database applications are used to create and manage database records. A Database Management system (DBMS) application helps users and businesses manage and organize data in tables and documents. A database application provides a visual representation of the stored data. Using application software like Oracle MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, etc., a user can perform, create, read, update and delete operations on the database.
Word processing applications help users create and format text documents. These applications provide features that enable users to edit the layout, change appearances, and add styling to their documents. Word processing applications also come bundled with error checking and correction tools which help reduce grammatical and spelling mistakes. Microsoft Word is the most popular proprietary word processing software available on the market.
Application vs. System Software
An application is software that runs on a computer and performs operations for a user. On the other hand, a system software program operates in the background with no user interaction. System software is essential for the operation of a computer and communicates with the OS, hypervisors, shell, and drivers in the backend.
An application software relies on system software for the completion of its task. An application needs access to certain basic computer resources like memory, file system, processing power. The application interacts with the system software to access these resources.