Chapter 2 Application Software Objectives: In this chapter we will ...

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1


Chapter 2


Application Software


Objectives:

In this chapter we will

discuss

the following topics
:



Describe common features of most software
applications



Browsers



Word processors



Spreadsheets



Database management systems



Presentation graphics



Software suites and integrated software


Learning outcomes:

At the end of the chapter, students will be able
to:

1.

Explain the
difference between System
Software and Application Software.

2.

Differentiate between Public domain software, freeware, shareware and
commercial software.

3.

Explain what a Browser is, describe its features and name common examples of
browsers.

4.

Explain what a word processor is, describe
its features and name common
examples.

5.

Explain what a spreadsheet is, describe its features and name common
examples.

6.

Explain what a Database management system is, describe its features and name
common examples.

7.

Explain what a presentation graphics is, des
cribe its features and name common
examples.

8.

Explain the difference between
Software suites and integrated software




2


2.1 Common features of most software applications


Computer software provides instruction
s

that tell the computer how to operate.
Software are also called programs.
These p
rograms are usually created using other
software called programming languages.

System software

is a type of program that acts
li
ke a conductor in an orchestra.

It directs all

the activities and sets all the rules for how
the hardware and software work together. MS DOS and Microsoft Windows are
examples of system software or operating system software.
Application software

programs work with t
he operating system software to
help

you use your computer to do
specific types of work such as word processing to type a letter.


T
ypes of software

1.

System Software




Used by the computer to accomplish a task.




What system software does:


o

controls the internal function of the computer


o

controls other devices connected to the CPU

2.

Application Software



Used by people to accomplish a specific task.



Some common kinds of application software

o

Word Processor software

o

Database software

o

Spreadsheet software

o

Games

o

Web Page Browsers


Kinds of

Software

There are four main kinds of software

1.

Public Domain Software



3


o

Has no copyright
-

no one owns the right to control who can make copies
of the software.


o

Free to use or make copies of.


o

Can be copied, used in other programs, or changed by anyone.


2.

Freeware


o

Has a copyright
-

someone owns the right to determine who can make
copies of the software.


o

Free to use and make copies of.


o

Can only give away exact copies of the software.


o

Cannot

be changed or used in another program without the copyright
hold
er's permission.


3.

Shareware

o

Has a copyright.

o

Allowed to use the software before paying for it.



Can be a demo
-

which limits some major features like the Save
command.




Can set an amount of time you can use the software.




Can trust that you will pay for
it if you like the software.


o

Can only give away exact copies of the software.

o

Cannot

be changed or used in another program without the copyright
holder's permission.


4.

Commercial Software

o

Has the most resistive copyright.

o

Have to buy the software before

you can use it.

o

Can usually make one copy of the software as a backup copy.


4




A backup copy is used in case something goes wrong with the original
software.



Cannot

give away or sell the backup copy.

o

Cannot

copy, look at the program's code, change, or us
e the software in
another program without the copyright holder's permission.

o

Commercial Software is the best software in the world.


2.
2

Browsers

Short for Web browser, a software application used to locate and display Web pages.
The two most popular browsers are Microsoft
Internet Explorer

and
Firefox
. Both of
these are graphical browsers, which mean that they can display
graphics

as well as

text
.
In a
ddition, most modern browsers can present
multimedia

information, including
sound and
video
, though they require
plug
-
ins

for some formats.

A plug
-
in is
a

software
addition to
a browser
that adds features to the software.
With plug
-
in software, our
browser can have
functions
which
include audio effects, encoding, titling, addi
tional
visual effects and videotape logging.


2.3

Word processors

A
word processor

is a computer application used
documents such as letters, memos and
reports.
for the production of any sort of printable material.

A word processor has not
only replaced the

traditional typewriter but can assist the user with tasks requiring
intelligence, automatically. The latest versions of word processing software contain
many features and can also be used for "desktop publishing" to create newsletters,
brochures, business

cards, signs and more.

Figure 2.1 shows a screen shot of the
Microsoft Office Word Processing software.


F
eatures of a word processor

include
:

a

Type into columns, add pictures and charts to a page, create custom borders,
and experiment with a variety of ty
pefaces (fonts) in a wide range of sizes. A user
can even combine different fonts on the same page.


5


b

Formatting and editing features to make the user’s work easier. A user can easily
check the spelling of a word or the entire document. The built in thesaur
us will
help the user find an alternate word to use. Blocks of text can be easily moved,
copied or erased.


c

Macros allow a user to record phrases that need to
be
use
d

more than once and
then "play back the text" (automatically type it onto the page) in other
documents
-

as many times as
required



d

Search and replace features allow a user to easily find words in a document and
provides the option of replacing with a dif
ferent word or phrase.


e

Built in grammar checkers will read the user’s document and make suggestions
on changes the user may want to consider to have the document conform to
various writing styles. Grammar checkers is available to find punctuation errors
and improper capitalizat
ion of words.


f

Compile a large group of form letters (mail merge), print envelopes, number
pages or lines, build an index and table
-
of
-
contents for a book, use headers and
footers (text that appears at the top or bottom of each page), and use footnotes
(a
ppears at the bottom of the page that contains the footnote number) and end
notes (appears at the end of a document).


g

Paragraph formatting makes it easy to change margins. If a user changes the
margins after he/she has typed the document, the text will a
utomatically wrap
to fit the new margin setting! Tabs can be set or changed and the user can
indent either the first line of a paragraph or the entire paragraph. "Bullets" can
be added for emphasis. A user can also center his/her text or align the text wit
h
the right margin, left margin, or both.



6


h

The "table" feature of word processing software allows the user to create and
use custom forms. Tables allow the user to access built
-
in math features to
automatically calculate numbers you enter onto the form.



Figure 2.1
: A screen shot of the Microsoft Office Word Processing software


Newer word processing software contains voice dictation and handwriting recognition
features. Voice dictation allows
a

user to speak into a microphone and have his/her text
type
d automatically onto the screen. Handwriting recognition allows the user to write
with a pencil
-
like "stylus" on a drawing pad and the computer will convert the
handwriting to type on the screen. These features are only effective if the user take the
time
to "train" the computer to recognize his/
her voice

or handwriting.


Perhaps the most useful feature of using a computer for word processing is that ability
to make changes and corrections, as often as we need, without making a mess of the
project and having to retype the document. We can edit our document on the computer
s
creen and print it when all the corrections have been made. If we spot mistakes in our
printed copy, the document will still be on the screen and can be easily corrected
without retyping! If we don't have time to finish our document, we can store it on a

7


d
isk. When we are ready to continue working on the project, we can retrieve a copy of it
from the disk onto the screen.


Examples of word processors include Microsoft Word (most popular),
Corel
WordPer
fect, Lotus Word Pro
and the OpenOffice.org Writer from

Open
-
source
applications.

"WordPad" is a small word processor that comes free with the Microsoft
Windows operating system. It has most of the basic features of a word processor, but
does not contain advanced features such as spell checking and thesaurus,
grammar
checker, and a few other features.

Online word processors such as Google Docs are a
relatively new category.


2.4

Spreadsheets

A

spreadsheet
, also known as
a

worksheet, contains rows and columns and is used to
record and compare numerical or financial data. Originally, spreadsheets only existed in
paper format, but now they are most likely created and maintained through
a

software
program that displays the num
erical information in rows and columns. Spreadsheets can
be used in any area or field that works with numbers and are commonly found in the
accounting,
budgeting,

sales forecasting, financial analysis, and scientific fields.
Figure
2.2 shows a screen shot
from Microsoft Office Excel


Computerized spreadsheets mimic
a

paper
spreadsheet
. The advantage of using
computerized spreadsheets is their ability to update data and perform automatic
calculations extremely quickly. On
a

computerized
spreadsheet
, the inte
rsection of
a

row and
a

column is called
a

cell. Rows are generally identified by numbers
-

1, 2, 3, and
so on
-

and columns are identified by letters, such as
A
, B, C, and so on. The cell is
a

combination of
a

letter and
a

number to identify
a

particular
location within the
spreadsheet
, for example
A3
.



8



Figure 2.2:

A screen shot from Microsoft Office Excel


To maneuver around the
spreadsheet
, you use the mouse or the tab key. When the
contents of one cell are changed, any other affected cell is automatically recalculated
according to the formulas in use. Formulas are the calculations to be performed on the
data. Formulas can be simple, such a
s sum or average, or they can be very complex.
Spreadsheets are also popular for
testing
hypothetical scenarios.


Setting up
a

spreadsheet

can be fairly time consuming, although templates, or sample
spreadsheets, are available with most software packages.

The computerized
spreadsheet

can be formatted with titles, colors, bold text, and italics for
a

professional
look. You can also create graphs and charts based on the data entered in your
spreadsheet
. Many packages have the ability to
print mailing lists

o
r labels.


The original computerized
spreadsheet

software was VisiCalc, designed for use on Apple
computers. Now many commercial computerized software packages are available for
Microsoft Windows and other operating systems. Popular
spreadsheet

packages i
nclude
Microsoft Excel and
Lotus

123.

Individuals, in addition to businesses, use computerized
spreadsheet

software for
a

variety of tasks that involve numerical data. Teachers can
store and average grades with
a

spreadsheet
. Individuals can use
a

spreadsh
eet

to track

9


a

personal budget or store sports team statistics. Spreadsheets are one of the most
popular uses for personal computers.


The latest
type of spreadsheets operate
s

in the browser.
A

few different companies are

already
offering this service and there seem to be at least two big benefits of these
browser
-
based spreadsheets vs. their offline counterparts:


1)
A user
can access
his/her
spreadsheet files from anywhere
he/she
can connect to
the internet.
A
ll
that is needed
i
s
just
a
browser. A user
can view/edit the file from
anywhere that has an internet connection


2)
A user

can share the file with others who are also connected to the internet.
T
his
feature
allows multiple
users
(who might be in different locations around
the
wor
ld), to view/edit the document. T
his collaborative editing can be performed at
the same time.


2.5

Database management systems

A database management system (or DBMS) is essentially nothing more than a
computerized data
-
keeping system.
DBMS s
tands
for "Database Management System."
In short, a DBMS is a database program. Technically speaking, it is a software system
that uses a standard method of cataloging, retrieving, and running queries on data. The
DBMS manages incoming data, organizes it, and pr
ovides ways for the data to be
modified or extracted by users or other programs.

Users of the system are given
facilities to perform several kinds of operations on such a system for either
manipulation of the data in the database or the management of the d
atabase structure
itself. Database Management Systems (DBMSs) are categorized according to their data
structures or types.

There are several types of databases that can be used on a
mainframe to exploit z/OS: inverted list, hierarchic, network, or relation
al.

Figure 2.3
shows a screen shot of Microsoft Office Access.



10



Figure 2.3
: A screen shot of Microsoft Office Access.


Mainframe sites tend to use a hierarchical model when the data
structure

(not data
values) of the data needed for an application is rel
atively static. For example, a Bill of
Material (BOM) database structure always has a high level assembly part number, and
several levels of components with subcomponents. The structure usually has a
component forecast, cost, and pricing data, and so on. T
he structure of the data for a
BOM application rarely changes, and new data elements (not values) are rarely
identified. An application normally starts at the top with the assembly part number, and
goes down to the detail components.


Advantages of using a

database system

When computer systems were first developed, the data was stored on individual files
that were unique to an application or even a small part of an individual application. But
a properly designed and implemented DBMS provides many
advantages over a flat file
PDS system:



It reduces the application programming effort.



It manages more efficiently the creation and modification of, and access to, data
than a non
-
DBMS system. As you know, if new data elements need to be added

11


to a file,
then all applications that use that file must be rewritten, even those
that do not use the new data element. This need not happen when using a
DBMS. Although many programmers have resorted to "tricks" to minimize this
application programming rewrite task,
it still requires effort.



It provides a greater level of data security and confidentiality than a flat file
system. Specifically, when accessing a logical record in a flat file, the application
can see
all

data elements
--
including any confidential or priv
ileged data. To
minimize this, many customers have resorted to putting sensitive data into a
separately managed file, and linking the two as necessary. This may cause data
consistency issues.


With ordinary manual files, user might store the same informat
ion is
several different
places; for example, the details of a customer might be in both the ordering and
invoicing application. This causes a number of problems:



Because the details are stored and processed independently, details that are
supposed to be t
he same (for example, a customer's name and address), might
be inconsistent in the various applications.



When common data has to be changed, it must be changed in several places,
causing a high workload. If any copies of the data are missed, it results in

the
problems detailed in the previous point.



There is no central point of control for the data to ensure that it is secure, both
from loss and from unauthorized access.



The duplication of the data wastes space on storage media.


A DBMS can help address the above problems. Examples of DBMS include;
MySQL,
PostgreSQL, Microsoft Access, SQL Server, FileMaker, Oracle, RDBMS, dBASE, Clipper,
and FoxPro. Since there are so many database management systems available, it is
important for
there to be a way for them to communicate with each other. For this
reason, most database software comes with an Open Database Connectivity (
ODBC
)

12


driver that allows the database to integrate with other databases. For example,
common SQL statements such as

SELECT and INSERT are translated from a program's
proprietary syntax into a syntax other databases can understand.


2.6

Presentation graphics

Presentation software package or more popularly known as Presentation graphics is a
computer software package tha
t enables users to create highly stylized images for slide
shows and reports. Presentation graphics typically includes three major functions: an
editor that allows text to be inserted and formatted, a method for inserting and
manipulating graphic images an
d a slide
-
show system to display the content.
With
presentation graphic
software,
it is now quite easy to make last
-
minute changes to slide
show presentations compared to traditional typesetting and paste up. It is also a lot
easier to produce a large numb
er of slides in a small amount of time. Anyone with a PC
or Macintosh can now create professional
-
looking presentation graphics.

Before the
introduction of presentation graphics software, presentation was normally made up of
35 mm slides and even transpare
ncies.
Figure 2.4 shows a screen shot of Microsoft
Office Powerpoint




An example of a 35mm slide used in a slide show in the 1990s.



13



Figure 2.4
:
A

screen shot of Microsoft Office Powerpoint


Features of presentation graphics software includes:



Adding
t
ext, graphics, movies, and other objects are positioned
on individual
pages or "slides"
.



Slides can be printed, or (more usually) displayed on
-
screen and navigated
through at the command of the presenter.



Transitions between slides can be animated in a
variety of ways, as can the
emergence of elements on a slide itself.



A library of pre
-
designed images (clip art) is available and the software has the
ability to import graphic images.



Custom graphics can also be created in other programs such as Adobe
P
hotoshop or Adobe Illustrator and then imported.


With the growth of digital photography and video, many programs that handle these
types of media also include presentation functions for displaying them in a similar "slide
show" format. For example, Apple
's iPhoto allows groups of digital photos to be

14


displayed in a slide show with options such as selecting transitions, choosing whether or
not the show stops at the end or continues to loop, and including music to accompany
the photos.


Similar to programmi
ng extensions for an operating system or web browser, "add
-
ons"
or plug
-
in for presentation programs can be used to enhance their capabilities. For
example, it would be useful to export a PowerPoint presentation as a Flash animation or
PDF document. This w
ould make delivery through removable media or sharing over the
Internet easier. Since PDF files are designed to be shared regardless of platform and
most web browsers already have the plug
-
in to view Flash files, these formats would
allow presentations to
be more widely accessible.


Certain presentation programs also offer an interactive integrated hardware element
designed to engage an audience (e.g. audience response systems) or facilitate
presentations across different geographical locations (e.g. web co
nferencing). Other
integrated hardware devices ease the job of a live presenter such as laser pointers and
interactive whiteboards.


The most commonly known presentation program is Microsoft PowerPoint, although
there are alternatives such as OpenOffice.or
g Impress and Apple's Keynote. Adobe
Acrobat is also a (less) popular tool for presentation which can be used to easily link
other presentations of whatever kind and by adding the faculty of zooming without loss
of accuracy due to vector graphics inherent
to PostScript and PDF.


To explore more about presentation graphics available in the market click on the
following links.

Adobe Persuasion


AppleWorks


Authorstream



15


Beamer (LaTeX)


Google Docs

which now includes presentations

Harvard Graphics


HyperCard


IBM Lotus Freelance Graphics


Apple Keynote


KPresenter


Macromedia Director


MagicPoint


Microsoft PowerPoint


MySlideShow


OpenMind


OpenOffice.org Impress


PicturesToExe


Photo slideshow software


S5


Scala Multimedia


Screencast


SongPro


VCN ExecuVision


VUE (Visual Understanding Environment)


Web based presentation tools


Worship presentation program


Zoho








16


2.7

Software suites and integrated software


Software suites

A
software suite

or
application suite

is a collection of computer programs, usually
application software and programming software of related functionality, often sharing a
more
-
or
-
less common user interface and some ability to smoothly exchange data with
each other.

These

applications are from the same software manufacturer and are
packaged together in a large box and sold at prices that are much lower than if they
were purchased individually
-

usually less than half of the original collective price! The
software applicati
ons contained in a suite or bundle are the same applications a
professional user might purchase individually. No corners have been cut, and additional
features may have been added such as a "common interface" that allows any of the
programs to be accessed
from the same "main menu," a consistent screen layout used
by each of the programs, and the ability to easily exchange data from one program to
another.


The advantages of bundled software suites are:

1.

Low cost compared to buying each application separate
ly

2.

Option to install all of the programs at the same time or only the programs you
want to use

3.

Consistent interface from one application to another

4.

The ability to share information between applications

5.

Future upgrades can update each application all at

the same time

6.

Ideal for personal use, professional use, large or small business

7.

Each application is the full
-
featured version


The disadvantages are:

1.

High initial cost


17


2.

All applications are from the same manufacturer
-

you might prefer a word
processo
r from one company, a spreadsheet from a different manufacturer, etc.

3.

May be purchasing more software than you actually need

4.

Installation of the entire suite of applications takes up a large amount of storage
space on your internal hard disk

5.

Several large manuals to study if you plan to master each application, or the
package might not include printed manuals in order to keep the cost low


Software suites can be classified into three main categories:

I.

Office suite

II.

Internet suite

III.

Graphics suite


i.

O
ffice suite

A
n
office
suite

or
productivity suite

is a software suite intended to be used by typical
clerical worker and knowledge workers.
They
have a consistent user interface and
usually can interact with each other
.
There is currently a trend
towards online office
suites which are web applications rather than traditional software
.
The currently
dominant office suite is Microsoft Office, which is available for Microsoft Windows and
Apple Inc.'s Mac OS X. It has become a proprietary de
-
facto stan
dard in office software.

Another alternative is the open
-
source software, OpenOffice that is available for
Windows, Linux, Macintosh, and other platforms.
Other free or less
-
expensive office
suites include StarOffice, KOffice, Celframe Office, and Lotus Sy
mphony. These programs
support many of the features of Microsoft Office, can open the files it creates, and can
save new documents in its formats.






18


ii.

Internet suite

An Internet suite is an Internet
-
related software suite. Internet suites usually inclu
de a
web browser, e
-
mail client (often with a news client and address book), download
manager, HTML editor, and an IRC client.


To explore more about internet suite available in the market click on the following links.

Netscape Communicator


Netscape


Mozilla Application Suite
,
SeaMonkey

and
Gnuzilla


K Desktop Environment


Opera


Arachne


Cyberdog


MSN Explorer



iii.

Graphic suite

A graphics suite is a software suite for graphics work that are distributed together will
include at least a bitmap graphics editor and a vector gra
phics editor. In addition to
these, the suite may contain VRML editors, animation editors, and morphing tools.
Examples include;
Adobe graphics
suite and

Corel graphics suite


Integrated software

Integrated software
refers to two or more components merged

together into a single
system. For example, any software product that performs more than one task can be
described as
integrated.

T
he term
integrated software
is reserved for applications that
combine word processing, database management, spreadsheet func
tions, and
communications into a single package. The user can easily switch from one type of
application to another without exiting the program.



19


The advantages of integrated software are:

1.

Low cost

2.

Only one program to install and learn

3.

Consistent inter
face from one module to another

4.

The ability to share information between modules

5.

Usually only one reference manual

6.

Ideal for personal use or small business


The disadvantages are:

1.

Each module is limited to basic functions

2.

May not be compatible with other popular business software

3.

Not suited for large companies or professional use


Integrated software usually costs around $200 and offers basic word processing,
spreadsheet, database management, graphics and communications features. To obtain
the same assortment of features by purchasing individual applications, you would have
to buy f
ive programs at a total cost of over $1000.00! Some examples of integrated
software are Microsoft Works and Lotus Works. Some examples of software suites are
Microsoft Office, OpenOffice.org (Sun Star Office) and Corel WordPerfect Office.


Summary:

System

software is a type of program that acts like a conductor in an orchestra.
Application software

programs work with the operating system software to help you use
your computer to do specific types of work such as word processing to type a letter.


There ar
e four main kinds of software:
-

Public Domain Software
,
Freeware, Shareware
and Commercial Software. A
Web browser is
a software application used to locate and
display Web pages.

A
word processor

is a computer application used for the production
of any so
rt of printable material

documents such as letters, memos and reports.

It has

20


already replaced the typewriter
.

A

spreadsheet
, also known as
a

worksheet, contains
rows and columns and is used to record and compare numerical or financial data.

A
DBMS is
a
software system that uses a standard method of cataloging, retrievi
ng, and
running queries on data stored on database.

Presentation software package is a computer
software package that enables users to create highly stylized images for slide shows and
repo
rts.


A
software suite

is a collection of computer programs, usually application software and
programming software of related functionality, often sharing a more
-
or
-
less common
user interface and some ability to smoothly exchange data with each other.

Inte
grated
software refers to two or more components merged together into a single system.


Quiz

Fill in the blanks.

1.

A ……. Is actually a set of
applications from the same software manufacturer and are
packaged together in a large box and sold at prices that ar
e much lower than if they
were purchased individually


2.

In an ………, t
he user can easily switch from one type of application to another
without exiting the program.

3.

A ……

directs all the activities and sets all the rules for how the hardware and
software work together.

4.

……….
programs work with t
he operating system software to
help you use your
computer to do specific types of work such as word processing to type a letter.

5.

We are free to use …….
to use and make copies but
we c
annot changed or used
it
in
another program without the copyright holder's permission.

6.

.

The latest versions of
…….

software
contains

many features and can also be used
for "desktop publishing" to creat
e newsletters, brochures, business cards, signs and
more.


21


7.

The advantage of using computerized
…….
is their ability to update data and perform
automatic calculations extremely quickly.

8.

The ……….
is a software system that uses a standard method of cataloging,

retrieving, and running queries on data.

9.

……..
typically includes three major functions: an editor that allows text to be
inserted and formatted, a method for inserting and manipulating graphic images and
a slide
-
show system to display the content.

10.

A ……..
Can be copied, used in other programs, or changed by anyone.


Answer
s
:

1 = software suite

2 = Integrated software package.

3 = System software

4 =
Application software

5 = freeware

6 = word processing

7 =
spreadsheets

8 = Database Management System

9 =
Presentation graphics

10 = Public Domain Software


Essay Questions.

1.

Explain the difference between System Software and Application Software.

2.

Explain the difference between Public domain software, freeware, shareware and
commercial software.

3.

How would
choose which browser to use on your laptop?

4.

What are the features of a good
word processor
?

5.

How can a spreadsheet application be used in a small retail business?

6.

What are the advantages of using a Database management system?


22


7.

Describe a situation where a pr
esentation graphics software can be used.=

8.

Explain the difference between
Software suites and integrated software