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A computer application is software that is a subclass of computer software that employs the capabilities of a computer directly to a task that the user wishes to perform. This should be contrasted with system software which is involved in integrating a computer's various capabilities, but typically does not directly apply them in the performance of tasks that benefit the user. In this context the term application refers to both the application software and its implementation.

A simple, if imperfect analogy in the world of hardware would be the relationship of an electric light bulb (an application) to an electric power generation plant (a system). The power plant merely generates electricity, not itself of any real use until harnessed to an application like the electric light that performs a service that benefits the user.

Main roles

The main roles of computer applications of interest to psychologists are:

Other typical examples of software applications are word processors, spreadsheets, and databases.

Multiple applications bundled together as a package are sometimes referred to as an application suite. Microsoft Office and, which bundle together a word processor, a spreadsheet, and several other discrete applications, are typical examples. The separate applications in a suite usually have a user interface that has some commonality making it easier for the user to learn and use each application. And often they may have some capability to interact with each other in ways beneficial to the user. For example, a spreadsheet might be able to be embedded in a word processor document even though it had been created in the separate spreadsheet application.

User-written software tailors systems to meet the user's specific needs. User-written software include spreadsheet templates, word processor macros, scientific simulations, graphics and animation scripts. Even email filters are a kind of user software. Users create this software themselves and often overlook how important it is.

File:OpenOfficeorg-Writer-scr01.png is a well-known example of application software

Other examples

Enterprise infrastructure software

Information worker software

Content access software

  • Electronic media software
    • Web browser
    • Media players
    • Hybrid editor players
    • Entertainment software
      • Digital pets
      • Screen savers
      • Computer and Video Games
        • Arcade
        • Emulators for console games
        • Handheld Game Consoles Games
        • Video Game Console Games
        • Wireless or Mobile Phone Games

Educational software

Computer simulation software

  • Computer simulators
    • Scientific simulators
    • Social simulators
    • Battlefield simulators
    • Emergency simulators
    • Vehicle simulators
    • Simulation games
      • Vehicle simulation games

Media development software

  • Image organizer
  • Media content creating/editing
    • 3D computer graphics software
    • Animation software
    • Graphic art software
    • Image editing software
      • Raster graphics editor
      • Vector graphics editor
    • Video editing software
    • Sound editing software
    • Music sequencer
      • Scorewriter
    • Hypermedia editing software
      • Web Development Software

See also

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