Although it has a simple concept, the software encompasses a wide range of applications in the area of Information Technology (IT). One of the first reports of software was recorded in the 19th century when Ada Lovelace, known as the first programmer in history, wrote an algorithm that enabled the Analytical Machine to calculate a sequence called Bernoulli Numbers.
Although it was born with this event, the software only got its name years later, in the 1940s. It came up with a pun with the word “hardware”, in which the prefix “hard” was changed to “soft” ( soft), to say that software is everything that is not connected to the physical part of the device.
Present in the routine of all those who use technological devices, the software is a set of data or instructions that tell a mechanism how to work. In other words, it is any program present on computers, cell phones or other devices that allows the execution of functions, including operating systems, applications, scripts, macros and instructions for directly embedded code (firmware). It is concluded, with this, that a software can manifest itself in innumerable ways.
Types of software
Based on their application, the software is classified into three major categories: programming, system and application software.
These are the tools used by the programmer to develop new programs and software, including different programming languages (C, Java, Python, Swift, et.), Compilers, interpreters, debuggers, among others.
Text editors, although classified as application software, also qualify as programming software, since they can be used to write code.
System software, in turn, is responsible for managing the behavior of a device’s hardware, offering the basic functionality required by users and other programs. Operating systems like Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS and Android fall into this category. Other examples are firmwares, industrial automation software, game drivers and graphics engines.
In some cases, however, application software can take on the role of operating systems, as is the case with Chrome OS, where the browser is both system and application software simultaneously.
This category includes popular programs, such as video and music players, games, text editors, calculators, browsers, social networking applications, etc. Application software allows the user to perform one or more specific tasks.
Although it has very positive applicability, this category includes malicious software, so-called malware, which are designed to cause damage to devices and may even steal data stored on devices.