Systems and applications software

Types of Application Software

Applications software is basically just a piece of software which performs a specific job. This is different to systems software because it doesn't stop the user from having to communicate with the hardware. Systems software is categorized into the same area as the operating system and the GUI whereas applications software is in the same area as hardware such as databases, spreadsheets and graphics.

There are many different types of applications software and I shall explain these below.

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Package Software

Package software is a collection of files which are necessary for a specific program to run along side some other form of documentation to help the user get the program started.

Generic Software

This is an applications package that is appropriate for a wide range of tasks and can be used in lots of areas of work. It can be appropriate for home users, businesses and organisations. For example, word processing software is generic software because it can be used in virtually any job and for lots of different tasks which are needed completing every day. Some examples of generic software are; word processing, database, presentation and browsers.

Integrated Software

This is an application package consisting of software from several distinct applications. There will always be two or more applications packages in integrated software.

Office software is integrated software consisting of word processing, database, presentation and desktop publishing software.

Microsoft Office is an integrated package as well as each of its office-type suites being a generic package. Office-type suites bundle popular applications software together.

There are other Office-type packages apart from Microsoft Office. One of these packages is called Star Office by a company called Sun Microsystems.

Some advantages of integrated packages over separate application packages are:

- They are cheaper to buy as a bundle rather than separately

- They are easier to transfer data from one of the modules to another. For example, it is easier to process data in a spreadsheet, draw a graph and and then incorporate the graph in a document produced using word processing software

- It is easier to install because it all installs together so only one installation is needed rather than for each individual piece.

Some disadvantages of integrate packages over separate applications packages are:

- You have to pay for some packages which you many never use so this could be seen as a waste of money

- Some of the individual packages may not be as good as some other individual ones, meaning that you could be sacrificing quality when spending a little bit more money to purchase the ones you want would give you a better outcome.

Other Types

Specific software is another type of applications software which performs one particular task. Examples of this are; payroll, stock control and income tax.

Bespoke software, which is sometimes called tailor-made software, as it is specifically made created for the business or organisation who ask for it. It is produced when there is no suitable software package around and is a very expensive option.

Some of its advantages are; an organisation does not have to change how it works to personalize it to do the job they want it to (this has already been done), you can get the creator of the software to make it do exactly what you want and there may not be a suitable software package on the market so this would be in replacement of that.

Some disadvantages of it are; much more expensive than buying off a shelf and it may contain errors that were not discovered through testing. This would not occur in a mass market applications software because it is likely that the testing done would be much more in-depth.


Applications software is software which has been produced to allow the user to carry out a specific task. It is not concerned with the control and management of systems resources of the computer, as that is the job of systems software.
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