Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Computer software is most commonly created by computer programmers using a programming language. The programmer writes commands in the programming language that are similar to what someone might use in everyday speech. These commands are called source code. Another computer program called a compiler is then used on the source code, transforming the commands into a language that the computer can understand. The result is an executable computer program, which is another name for software. Computer software, or just software, is the collection of computer programs and related data that provide the instructions telling a computer what to do. We can also say software refers to one or more computer programs and data held in the storage of the computer for some purposes. Program software performs the function of the program it implements, either by directly providing instructions to the computer hardware or by serving as input to another piece of software. The term was coined to contrast to the old term hardware (meaning physical devices). In contrast to hardware, software is intangible, meaning it "cannot be touched". Software is also sometimes used in a more narrow sense, meaning application software only. Sometimes the term includes data that has not traditionally been associated with computers, such as film, tapes, and records.