Application software falls into 2 main categories/groups: -
(i). General-purpose packages (Application packages).
(ii). Special-purpose applications (User programs).
* Word processors * Spreadsheets.
* Databases * Graphic packages, etc.
Package - a set of fully described & related programs stored together to perform a specific task. They are developed to solve particular problems in one or more organizations with little or no alterations.
(i). Packages save a lot time & programming effort, because the company buys the software when it is ready-made.
(ii). Are relatively cheap to the user. These programs are usually sold in large numbers. Again, the cost of developing the programs is effectively shared between the purchases.
(iii). They are appropriate for a large variety of applications.
(iv). Most packages are menu-driven, i.e., the user is provided with a set of options displayed on the screen; hence, they are easy to learn & use, making them suitable for people with little or no computing knowledge.
(v). Packages are extensively/thoroughly tested & debugged (has all errors corrected), i.e. if it is a popular package, it is usually tried & approved by a large no. of people. The testing is done by a pool of professional programmers and analysts.
(vi). Are usually provided with extensive documentation to help the user.
(vii). Relatively quick results are obtained.
(viii). The packages are generally portable. In addition, there is usually a maintenance agreement between the supplier & the buyer.
(ix). Application packages can be rented, especially by users who might require to use them only periodically, hence cutting on costs, e.g. maintenance.
(i). The package is produced to meet general needs (a wide variety of user’s needs) & therefore, may not be ideal for a particular customer/ company.
(ii). The purchaser has no direct control over the package, because he/she is not involved in developing it.
(iii). Packages cannot be modified.
The user may not be free to correct any routines/ functions of the package, because there is always a maintenance guarantee & the application of the developer’s copyright acts.
(iv). A package may include extra facilities, which are not required by an individual user or company.
(v). Sometimes, the package will allow only a clumsy solution to the task at hand.
(vi). In the case of Spreadsheet or Database, the user must still develop the application, which requires a thorough knowledge of the capabilities of the package, which are usually quite extensive.
(vii). The user must still provide documentation for the particular application that he/she has created.
(viii). It is quite easy to forget the commands to use the package, especially if it is not used frequently.
(i). The user gets a well tried & tested program, which he/she is able to use with confidence.
(ii). The user is able to quickly implement the results obtained from the use of the package.
(i). Purchaser has direct control over the package, as he is involved in its production.
(ii). Are very expensive.
The following are some of the factors that a buyer who is intending to acquire an Application package should consider: -
1). Cost of the package in relation to the expected benefits against the cost of developing in-house programs.
2). Compatibility: - (fitting) of the package with/within the existing computer resources, e.g., hardware, software, etc.
3). Whether there is maintenance support from the suppliers.
4). Whether there is accompanying documentation (the descriptions), which helps in using, maintaining & installing the package.
5). The portability of the package, i.e. whether the package can be used on different families of computers.
6). A good package is that which is easy to learn & use. This helps to determine the duration of training that might be involved & the subsequent cost of training.
7). Before buying a particular package, its current users should be interviewed to find out whether the package is successful and famous in the market.
* Microsoft Word. * WordPerfect.
* Lotus Word Pro. * WordStar.
* Wang writer.
Depending on the task & the type of output required, either Text Editors or Word processors can be used.
(i). Line Editors - allow users to work with one line of text at a time.
An example of a line editor is the DOS COPY CON.
(ii). Screen Editors. These are full screen editors that allow users to work with large files of up to 64 KB in size.
They use Special keys that can be used to Cut, Copy, Paste & Delete blocks of text.
They also have a Search & Replace facility, which can be used to easily search for a specific text and replace it with something else.
- Using Spreadsheets, Sales & purchases can be recorded, Invoices produced and statements compiled.
- The management can keep track of the current state of payments from customers in relation to goods dispatched.
* Microsoft Excel. * Lotus 1-2-3.
* Quattro Pro.
* Microsoft Access. * FoxPro.
* Dbase. * Paradox.
(a). Clip Art Programs that come with pre-drawn artwork that you can simply copy into any document.
(b). Draw & Paint programs that have tools you need to create your own artwork.
(c). Computer Aided Design (CAD) Programs, which are sophisticated versions of draw and paint packages that you use to create detailed images, such as schematics and Blueprints. CAD programs often include 3-D imaging.
(d). Presentation Graphics software.
Presentation Graphics software is mainly used to create & design outputs (usually Slides) for presentations. They can be used, for instance, by an advertising agency for creating advertisements for Television. These could be sales presentations, management reports and product demonstrations.
√ You can create slides, which can be used in a slide show.
√ You can incorporate ClipArt pictures in a slide (ClipArt is a collection of ready-made graphics you can add to your presentation).
√ Presentation Graphics software allows the user to draw charts, graphs & other pictorial data using in-built objects such as, rectangles, ellipses, lines, etc. The user can also add text, and scanned images/ photographs. All the objects can be transformed by sizing, rotating & flipping.
The pictures can be decorated using different colours & shadings, making the presentation look great.
To create a Slide show, all the pages/ slides required should be created first. The user can then arrange them in the desired sequence to form a complete presentation (or Slide show). Special effects can be added to each slide as it is activated & deactivated during the presentation.
* Microsoft PowerPoint. * Corel Draw.
* Adobe Photoshop. * Harvard Graphics.
* Lotus Freelance Graphics. * Adobe Illustrator.
√ Page formatting features that are used to set Margins, Headers, Footers, Columns, and other page design features.
√ Templates that save a page layout for use in other documents.
√ Text editing features that enable the user to make changes to text, set fonts & styles, move and position text on a page.
√ Built-in fonts that give the user printed materials a unique and original appearance.
* Adobe PageMaker. * FrameMaker.
* Microsoft Publisher.
(i). An Architect to ‘try out’ various designs of a building.
(ii). CAD is widely used in the design of electronic circuits, ships, roads & cars.
(iii). When designing a bridge, an Engineer would like to know the effects of various loading conditions on the bridge without actually having to build the bridge.
(iv). An Aeronautical engineer to determine how a different tail design will affect the performance of an aircraft.
The Aircraft designer would like to know the effect on lift, say, of changing the shape of the wings or the tail without having to build an aircraft with these changes.
A computer is a useful tool in providing answers to these questions.
(v). It is used in computers in the manufacture of industrial products, in what is referred to as Computer Aided Manufacturer (CAM).
(vi). CAD programs are also used to simulate the timing of traffic lights or a nuclear attack for testing national defenses.
Note. The results obtained depend heavily on the models used. The more accurate the model, the
more reliable the results will be.
* AutoCAD. * ArchCAD.
* Architectural Desktop. * Planix Home Designer 3D Deluxe.
* SoftPlan. * Draffics.
· CD-ROM Drive.
· Hard disk drive with sufficient storage capacity.
· A 486, or Pentium processor.
· At least 4, 8, or 16 MB of RAM memory.
· A 256 colour or a better Video Adapter.
· A Sound card with Speakers or headphones. A Microphone (is optional) if you want to record your own sounds.
* Animation Master 99. * 3D Studio Max.
* Extreme 3D. * Morpher.
* WinFax Pro. * Zoc.
* ProComm Plus. * HyperAccess.
* Microsoft Exchange. * Outlook Express.
* Netscape Mail/Messenger.
Note. All e-mail software must have the capability of writing messages, sending & receiving
* Internet Explorer. * Netscape.
* Cello Internet browser. * NCSA Habanero.
Money management software falls into 2 categories: -
(a). Personal Finance programs.
Examples; * Quicken.
* Microsoft Money.
(b). Accounting programs.
Used by businesses to help them manage their financial affairs. They help to organize the accounting & spending plans of small businesses.
These programs keep track of expenditures, payrolls, inventory and operating income. The programs usually include a budget system, cheque register, report system and savings planner.
Examples; * Point-of- sale. * DAC Easy.
* Acc Pac. * Peachtree Accounting.
* Systematics. * Pegasus.
Personal Organizers act as electronic Secretaries or Assistants. They are used to store addresses & phone numbers, schedule meetings and appointments.
Examples of Personal Organisers are: -
* Organiser. * Goldmine.
* Ecco Pro. * Day-Timer Organiser.
* Day Runner Planner. * Sidekick Deluxe.
* Sharkware Pro. * Outlook.
* Microsoft Office. * LotusSmart Suite.
* WordPerfect Suite. * Microsoft Works.
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