What is an Application

Wikipedia advises that an Application may refer to:

  • A verbal or written request: such as an Application for employment, a form or collection of forms that an individual seeking employment must fill out when seeking employment or a Patent Application, a request pending at a patent office for the grant of a patent or
  • Application software, computer software designed to help the user to perform specific tasks
  • Function application in mathematics and computer science
  • Application (virtue), a characteristic encapsulated in diligence.

  • The first two meanings are by far the most popularly used and are described in more detail below.

    Application Software

    Is software that performs a specific function, which is the end result of using a computer. Programs such as audio and videoplayers, spreadsheets, web browsers and word processors are all software applications. These are commonly called an app or apps for short. These apps use the services of the computers operating system and other applications to deliver their results.

    So an App is different from the operating software of a computer. The app performs a specific function that results in an outcome required by the user, whereas the Operating system software provides a bridge between the computer hardware and the application. The operating system program remains the same but is used differently by different applications to provide a different useful outcome.

    For instance while writing this article on my laptop the operating system software remains constant, but is used differently when I switch between my Word Processing application to write these words and my WebBrowser to search for links and useful links on the WWW. The results I am seeking are different but the Operating System remains the same.

    With the explosion in mobile communications via mobile phones and their increased capabilities in recent times and the battle for hearts and minds in the competition between Apple, the manufacturer of the i-phone and manufacturers of other phones, using the Android Operating system, the number of apps for phones has increased exponentially.
    According to Flurry, “For every 10 apps that developers build, roughly 7 are for iOS.”

    Popular Android Apps

  • Flashlight HD LED
  • Flipboard: Your News Magazine
  • Out of Milk Shopping List
  • Angry Birds
  • Popular iPhone Apps

  • Camera Awesome
  • Pocket (Formerly Read It Later)
  • Any.DO
  • Highlight
  • Viggle
  • Application: a written or verbal request

    Technically whenever you ask someone for something or for permission to do something you are making Application to them. That is you are making a verbal request. Normally we don’t talk in such terms but this is a valid way of using the word application.

    We are much more familiar with making written Application either, in free form, by writing a letter or in fixed format, by completing a prepared application form. In fact we need to complete many written applications in our day to day lives including making Job applications, applications to open Bank Accounts or to borrow money, Apply for Social Security or Tax File numbers or a drivers licence and to use your favourite apps like Google, Facebook or Twitter.

    This Webpage on the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship Web Site is a good example of the large number of forms that are used to gather information in support of applications in the modern day. The information gathered is used to determine whether the applicant is qualified to be granted the sought after request.

    It can be seen that applications as Verbal or written requests or the favourite app on your mobile phone or computer are very much a part of our everyday lives.

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