The Many Uses of Networks
A way to share files and resources.
Communicate with others.
Intranets and extranets.
A computer network involves two or more computers which are set up to communicate with each other to share resources such as files or software.
Networks allow you to communicate with people, from friends and family to employees and customers.
Many companies have an internal network, called an intranet, that is like a private Internet within their “walls.” Some companies extend their internal network to vendors or others via an extranet.
Home networks allow you to share resources among family members. You might share your printer or an Internet connection, for example.
The Internet is a global network, made up of several networks that are linked together. By tapping into the Internet’s resources, you can find a wealth of information, services, and connections with others.
Two or more computing devices connected by a communications medium, such as a wireless signal or a cable.
A private network within a company’s corporate “walls.”
An extension of an intranet that allows interaction with suppliers, customers, and others outside of the company.
The Internet is a global network of
several networks linked together.
Communications systems are made up of:
The computer being used to browse the Internet.
Transmission media over which data travels, such as a satellite or microwave towers.
A set of standards and network protocols which govern how data is handled when travelling on the channel.
Hardware and software to connect the sending and receiving ends to the path that data follows.
A computer network is a communications system.
Types of Signals
Two types of signals can carry your voice across a communications system: analog and digital.
: Traditionally, analog was used to carry your voice over a phone line.
Because computers can’t “speak” analog, they require that the analog signal be demodulated to a digital signal using a piece of equipment called a modem.
Analog and digital.
Voice transmitted as analog on phone lines.
Computers require a digital signal.
Newer technologies don’t require the conversion.
Analog and Digital Signals
A digital signal has two states: high or low. High is represented by the digital bit 1, and low is represented by 0.
Data moves at different speeds.
Frequency and bandwidth.
Broadband allows the transmission of a large amount of data at fast speed.
Two factors have a significant impact on transmission speed:
frequency and bandwidth.
is the speed at which a signal can change from high to low. If you have a higher frequency connection, you get faster transmissions.
Bandwidth relates to how much data the channel can handle. The lower the bandwidth, the fewer bits per second can be transmitted.
can carry a lot of data at a fast speed, meaning they have a high frequency and high bandwidth. Typically, the higher the connection speed, the higher the cost. However, the benefits of 50 megabits per second with a cable connection over 56 kilobits per second using a dial up-phone line can be dramatic.
In the context of a computer network, a system that includes sending and receiving hardware, transmission and relay systems, common sets of standards so all the equipment can “talk” to each other, and communications software.
A rule for how data is handled as it travels along a communications channel.
: An electronic signal formed by continuous sound waves that fluctuate from high to low. Your voice is transmitted as an analog signal over traditional telephone lines at a certain frequency.
A discrete electronic signal that is either high or low. In computer terms, high represents the digital bit 1, and low represents the digital bit 0.
: A piece of hardware that sends and receives data from a transmission source such as your telephone line or cable television connection. The word modem comes from a combination of the words modulate and demodulate.
The speed at which a signal can change from high to low; a signal sent at a faster frequency provides faster transmission.
The number of bits (pieces of data) per second that can be transmitted over a communications medium.
Any communications medium that can carry a large amount of data at a fast speed.
kilobit per second (Kbps)
A transmission at a rate of one thousand bits per second.
megabit per second (Mpbs)
A transmission at a rate of 1 million bits per second.
gigabit per second (Gbps)
A transmission at a rate of 1 billion bits per second.
terabit per second (Tbps)
A transmission at a rate of 1 trillion bits per second.
petabit per second (Pbps)
A transmission at a rate of 1 quadrillion bits per second.
Wired networks still in use.
Various types of cables:
Coaxial cable is used for transmitting cable television signals at very fast speeds.
Twisted-pair cable consists of insulated wires wrapped around each other. They are found in wired telephone connections. For example, Cat 5 is a twisted-pair cable used in Ethernet networks.
Fiber-optic cable involves a string of glass that transmits beams of light. These transmissions are very fast and can transmit billions of bits per second.
Cellular, microwave, and satellite.
Radio waves for transmitting data.
Each system transmits data in different ways, and the systems vary in signal strength and frequency.
networks like those used by cell phones send transmissions via cell towers. Each tower has a range called a cell. The towers can transmit both voice and data in any direction. The current generation of cellular is 4G (fourth generation) which transmits digital signals at speeds up to 15 Mbps.
Microwaves move high-frequency radio signals from one microwave tower to another. Because the signal can’t bend around objects, towers must be in sight of each other. Microwave signals can also bounce off a satellite. You might see a microwave system used on a college or business campus, for example.
To solve the problem of signals that can’t travel around obstructions, satellite communications send microwave signals up into the air. The signals bounce off a satellite and then return to an Earth-based station. Satellite is typically used in rural areas where microwave or cellular towers aren’t available. Video conferences and air navigation control also use satellite communication.
A type of cable consisting of two independently insulated wires twisted around each other. This type of cable is used to transmit signals over short distances, such as connecting a home’s hardware telephone system or an Ethernet network.
A cable used to transmit cable television signals over an insulated wire at a fast speed (millions of bits per second).
A transmission medium that uses a protected string of glass which transmits beams of light. Fiber-optic transmission is very fast, sending billions of bits per second.
A transmission system that sends signals through a cell tower. Every cell tower has its own range or cell of coverage. This system is used to transmit both voice and data in any direction.
Signals sent using a cell tower.
: A high-frequency radio signal sent from one microwave tower to another. Because the signal cannot bend around obstacles, towers must be positioned in line of sight of each other.
Space-based equipment that receives microwave signals from an earth-based station and then broadcasts the signals back to another earth-based station.
What Are Standards and Protocols?
Addressing issues of compatibility.
Communications standards called protocols.
: The computer and telecommunications industries have established standards to enable the many types of computing devices to communicate with each other. These standards allow your mobile phone or your digital camera to communicate with your computer, for example.
: Organizations such as the American National Standards Institute (abbreviated ANSI) or the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (abbreviated IEEE, which is pronounced eye-triple-E) develop and approve these standards. They specify how computers access transmission media, the speeds used on networks, and the design of networking hardware such as cables.
A standard that addresses how two devices communicate is called a protocol. A protocol is a set of rules that govern the transmission of data.
Network Transport Standards
Three primary standards address the way data is transported in a network. The first is Ethernet, a wired media standard. The Ethernet standard specifies that no central device controls the timing of transmission. Instead, each device attempts to send data when it senses that the network is available.
The token ring standard allows devices to share a signal. The signal, called a token, is passed from one device to another. Only the device that holds the token at any point in time is allowed to transmit data.
TCP/IP is a standard that specifies the order in which data is sent. With the TCP/IP standard, data is divided into small packets. Breaking data into packets, sending, and then reassembling the data is called packet switching. The Internet is based on the TCP/IP standard.
Wireless Networking Standards
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID).
Wireless Application Protocol (WAP).
Wireless transmissions use a variety of networking standards. One is Wi-Fi, which stands for wireless fidelity. Wi-Fi is based on the 802.11 standard in its many versions, and it is often used to set up home networks. Many public hotspots offer Wi-Fi connections for free or for a fee. Your computer may be able to automatically detect a hotspot and connect to it.
WiMAX is the term for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access which uses the 4G standard. This is the fourth generation broadband wireless standard. Compared to Wi-Fi, it is faster and operates over a longer range.
Bluetooth offers short range connections, from 3 to 300 feet, depending on the power class of your device. You can make hands-free calls while driving if your car can connect to your mobile device via Bluetooth, for example. Many devices contain Bluetooth chips, such as smartphones, laptops, keyboards, and digital cameras.
If you wander down a grocery store aisle, you may see someone checking inventory by scanning items with a RFID reader. This wireless technology is used to track inventory via radio signals. Items contain transponders or tags, which are read by the transceiver in the RFID reader.
Wireless application protocol is used for mobile devices. This standard controls how mobile phones display online information such as maps and email.
Allow different devices to talk to one another. To ensure compatibility among devices, they specify how computers access transmission media, speeds used on networks, the design of networking hardware such as cables, and so on.
American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
One of several organizations that establishes network communications standards.
Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
One of several organizations that establishes network communications standards.
A standard that specifies how two devices will communicate by providing rules such as how data should be formatted and coded for transmission. The Internet transmission protocol is indicated in the first part of a website’s universal resource locator (URL).
A standard that specifies that no central device controls the timing of data transmission. With this standard, each device tries to send data when it senses that the network is available.
A standard that allows computers and other devices accessing a network to share a signal. This signal, called a token, is passed from device to device. Only the device that holds the token can transmit data at that time.
A signal passed from device to device in a token ring network.
: Short for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. A protocol that breaks transmissions into small packets of data that are sent on the network. Each packet specifies the order in which the data is to be reassembled. This is the protocol for the Internet.
A small unit of data that is passed along a packet-switched network, such as the Internet.
The process of breaking data into packets, sending, and then reassembling the original data.
Short for wireless fidelity. A wireless technology, based on the 802.11 standard in its various versions such as 802.11 a, g, or n, that is used to connect to the Internet via hotspots and radio waves.
A communications standard used in Wi-Fi networks that tells wireless devices how to connect with each other using a series of access points and radio frequencies to transmit data.
A location where Wi-Fi access is available.
The abbreviation for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access. Also known as 802.16, this standard uses radio waves to connect with other devices using a WiMAX tower. It is faster and can work over a longer range than Wi-Fi.
A network protocol that offers short-range connectivity, from 3 to 300 feet, depending on a device’s power class, via radio waves between devices such as a cell phone and car. Bluetooth-enabled devices can communicate directly with each other.
Cell phone users who can share Internet connection of their device via cable, Bluetooth, or Wi-Fi with another device such as a tablet or laptop.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID): A wireless technology primarily used to track and identify items using radio signals. An RFID tag placed in an item contains a transponder which is read by a transceiver or RFID reader.
Wireless Application Protocol (WAP)
Specifies how mobile devices such as cell phones display online information like maps and email.
A computer dedicated to managing the sending, receiving, and storing of email messages.
A web-based email service such as Hotmail or Gmail that can be accessed from any computer connected to the Internet using a web browser.
Types of Networks
Local Area Networks (LAN).
Metropolitan Area Networks (MAN).
Wide Area Networks (WAN).
The three main types of networks are categorized by the geographic area they cover.
The first is a local area network or LAN (shown in the bottom-left figure). You would use a LAN to connect devices in the same room, building, or in a few nearby buildings. One computer in a LAN is the server, and it contains the networking software and coordinates the data exchange among the network devices. In addition, shared files are stored on that server. You might also have a print server to manage printing tasks. A wireless LAN is called a WLAN.
Several LANs within a city or similar high-population area connected together in a higher-speed network is called a metropolitan area network, or MAN.
A wide area network, or WAN, serves even larger geographic areas (shown in the bottom-right figure). WANs allow data to be shared among networks worldwide. The Internet, for example, is an enormous wide area network.
Sharing network resources.
Internet peer-to-peer (P2P).
Network architecture involves how computers in a network share resources. In a network, a computer could be the client making a request. Or, a computer might be a server responding to a request.
One type of architecture, client/server, has one server and many clients. This is called distributed application architecture because tasks are distributed among client and server computers.
peer to peer
Peer-to-peer architecture enables every computer on the network to work as either a client or a server. This type of network is simple to set up. However, it doesn’t work well if a network has heavy user demand because data becomes gridlocked.
internet peer to peer
A modification of peer-to-peer is Internet peer-to-peer. In this architecture, all connected devices share and access files. Users logged onto a peer-to-peer connection act as a server when they upload files on their computer, for example. They act as a client when they download files on their computer.
In a client-server network, any client connected to the server can access the programs and files that are stored there. While the client can make requests of the server, the server never makes requests from the client.
Peer to Peer Architecture
In a peer-to-peer network, every computer in the network can act as both client and server. Because any computer on the network can request services of any other computer, it’s difficult to support lots of traffic on the network.
Arrangement of devices in a network.
Network topology refers to how computers, servers, and other devices are arranged in a network. This is the physical layout of the devices, not a reflection of how data moves around the network.
In a network using bus topology, all the devices are connected by one cable. The cable, called the bus, transmits data and the instructions required to deliver that data among all the computers in the network. If one device malfunctions, it has no effect on other devices on the bus cable.
A network using ring topology connects devices, one after the other, in a closed loop. Data travels from one device to another until it gets to its destination. However, if one device on the ring fails, all the devices after it on the circuit can’t receive data.
In a star topology all the devices on the network connect to a central device, typically a hub or a switch. Data can be passed to any other device on the network. If one device on the network fails, no other devices are affected. However, if the hub or switch fails, the entire network crashes.
local area network (LAN)
A type of network in which connected devices are located within the same room or building, or in a few nearby buildings.
Any combination of hardware and software that provides a service, such as storing data, to a client, such as a computer.
wireless LAN (WLAN)
A local area network that uses wireless technology.
metropolitan area network (MAN)
A type of network that connects networks within a city or other populous area to a larger high-speed network; typically made up of several LANs that are managed by a network provider.
wide area network (WAN)
A type of network that serves larger geographic areas. WANs, such as the Internet, are used to share data between networks worldwide. WANs might use leased T1/T3 lines, satellite connections, radio waves, or a combination of communications media.
The design and layout of the communications system; how computers in a network share resources.
A network architecture in which a computer (called the server) stores programs and files that any connected device (called a client) can access.
A computer or other device capable of sending data to and receiving data from a server on a network.
distributed application architecture
A network architecture that distributes tasks between client computers and server computers.
peer-to-peer (P2P) network
A network architecture in which each computer in the network can act as both server and client.
Internet peer-to-peer (P2P) network
A modification of peer-to-peer used on the Internet to share files.
How devices in a network are physically arranged and connected to each other.
An arrangement where all the computers and other devices on a network, such as printers, are connected by a single cable.
An arrangement that has computers and other devices connected, one after the other, in a closed loop. Data transmitted on a ring network travels from one computer to the other until it reaches its destination.
An arrangement in which all the devices on the network connect to a central device.
Network devices include:
Wireless access points and routers.
Hubs and switches.
Gateways and bridges
Anything that connects to a network is called a node. This includes scanners, printers, computers, as well as hardware that enables exchange of data among devices over a transmission medium, such as:
Modems, which send and receive signals. A dial-up modem works with phone transmissions. A DSL modem works with phone transmissions, accepts digital signals, and filters out incoming voice signals. This means you can use your phone while your computer sends or receives transmissions. Cable modems connect via a high-speed cable network. A wireless modem is a PC card that you insert into a laptop or other device to pick up an Internet connection.
Network adapters allow your computer to connect to a network. Two types of network adapters are network interface cards (abbreviated NIC) and wireless interface cards. In the most recent computers, NICs take the form of a circuit board built into the computer motherboard.
Wireless access points and routers.
Wireless access points and routers help devices on a network communicate with one another.
A repeater is a device that takes a signal and retransmits it at a higher power level to boost the transmission strength.
Hubs and switches.
Hubs and switches have similar roles. They coordinate message traffic on a network. Compared to hubs, switches are a little more reliable in delivering messages to the correct destination.
Gateways and bridges.
Finally, gateways and bridges help separate networks to communicate with each other. A gateway connects networks using different topologies. A bridge connects networks that use the same topology.
Wireless Network Access Point
A wireless access point contains a high-quality antenna. The antenna allows computers and mobile devices to transmit data or exchange data with a wired network
Networking Operating Systems
Used for managing networks.
Installed on the central server.
A network needs special software to help it function. A network operating system (abbreviated NOS) adds features that help the administrator manage the network. Some popular network operating systems are Novell Netware and Microsoft Windows Server.
An NOS is installed on the central server along with other types of software that enable the network to run. The NOS includes programs that control the flow of data among client devices, control access to resources, and manage user accounts.
A device connected to a network.
A piece of hardware that works with telephone transmissions and changes or manipulates an analog signal so that it can be understood by a computer or fax machine which only understand digital signals.
A piece of hardware that allows you to connect to your existing telephone system, but separates voice from data traffic so that you don’t lose the use of your telephone while your computer is transmitting or receiving data. DSL stands for digital subscriber line.
A piece of hardware that enables you to send and receive digital data using a high-speed cable network based on the cable television infrastructure found in many homes.
A piece of hardware that typically takes the form of a PC card that you slot into a device to provide it with an antenna that can pick up a connection to the Internet.
mobile broadband stick
A USB device that acts as a modem to give users computer access to the Internet.
A device that provides a computer with the ability to connect to a network.
network interface card (NIC)
A type of network adapter card. In most current computers, NICs take the form of a circuit board built into the motherboard of a computer. It enables a client computer on a LAN to connect to a network by managing the transmission of data and instructions received from the server.
wireless interface card
A network interface card that uses wireless technology.
wireless access point
A hardware device containing a high-quality antenna that allows computers and mobile devices to transmit data to each other or to exchange data with a wired network.
A hardware device that connects two or more networks.
A hardware device that allows you to connect multiple networks using wireless communication signals.
An electronic device that takes a signal and retransmits it at a higher power level to boost the transmission strength. A repeater can also transmit a signal to move past an obstruction, so that the signal can be sent further without degradation.
A device used on older LAN networks to coordinate the message traffic among nodes connected to a network.
A hardware device that joins several computers together to coordinate message traffic in one LAN network. Although a switch performs a role similar to a hub, a switch checks the data in the packets it receives and sends the packet to the correct destination using the fastest route.
A device that helps separate but dissimilar networks to communicate with each other.
A device that helps separate but similar networks to communicate with each other.
network operating system (NOS)
Programs that control the flow of data among clients, restrict access to resources, and manage individual user accounts.
Security on home or work networks is of great concern today. Attackers can steal information, change security settings, or disrupt operations. Network security can involve several techniques and technologies. Chapter 8 covers computer security in more detail. One technique shown in this illustration is a firewall. These software and hardware systems stop people outside of a network from sending information into the network or taking information out of it.
firewall: Software and hardware systems that stop people outside of a network from sending information into the network or taking information out of it.
Building Wi-Fi and VoIP into intranets.
Many companies are building two hot technologies, Wi-Fi and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), into their intranets. Employees can then use cell phones without dropping a call as they move around the company’s buildings or step outside.
VoIP saves companies money because it makes calls over the Internet, rather than across traditional phone lines with their associated costs.
Mobility and VoIP
Building Wi-Fi and VoIP into intranets.
Software used from a network server.
Cloud services are flexible.
Another hot networking trend is cloud computing, which was introduced in Chapter 5. Elements of a network that are kept invisible to users are considered to be in the cloud. Web 2.0 has taken that idea online. Now software as a service is hosted on a network server. This means users no longer install software on their computers.
A cloud service is a flexible way to use software. It offers three features that make it different from software located on your computer or network. First, services are sold on demand and billed by the minute or hour, so you only pay for what you use. Second, people can use as many of the service features they want. Finally, users never have to install, upgrade, or troubleshoot software because the provider maintains the service.
The Roots of Application Software
Early application software.
Changes to software interfaces.
Early application software.
Early software products such as VisiCalc, the first spreadsheet program, provided very basic functionality. VisiCalc, for example, was essentially a calculator. WordStar, an early word processor, allowed you to enter and edit text, but little else.
Changes to software interfaces.
: Application software developed quickly from these early versions to add layers of functionality. The old-fashioned command line interfaces required that you key in command codes to format text or move within a document. This has evolved into highly sophisticated and graphical interfaces with a wealth of features accessed by using menus and tool buttons.
application software: The software products you use to get tasks done, from producing reports for work to creating art or playing games.
Application software was embraced first by businesses to make producing work and managing data more efficient. From reports and memos to budgets, presentations, and product catalogs, a wealth of business data finds its way into software applications to create business documents.
Organization and management of data
Software helps with storing and retrieving large amounts of data as well as organization of content.
The world of education jumped on the computer bandwagon early to deliver information to students, track student grades, and create interactive learning experiences.
But, application software isn’t just used to get office work done or learn. Many artistic tasks that once were done by hand are now routinely carried out on a computer. Software products are available to help people design documents, manipulate photos, draw, or create music.
: Software such as Quicken helps people manage their personal finances. Tax reporting software helps them calculate how much of their money goes to the government for taxes.
Gaming on computers has become big business. From a simple game of solitaire on your Windows computer to online interactive games with thousands of players, game applications are here to stay.
Perhaps most importantly, software enables instant and global communication which has changed our world in dramatic ways.
Word processor software can be used to create very sophisticated documents. These documents may include formatted text; effects such as bold and italics; drawn objects with borders, shadows, and shading; tables; photos; and hyperlinks to online documents. Templates built into products such as Microsoft Word provides a head start in designing newsletters or brochures. A mail merge feature in Word allows you to quickly generate personalized mass mailings, such as a letter sent to a large list of customers.
The focus of spreadsheet software like Microsoft Excel is to manipulate numbers. Spreadsheets use formulas to perform calculations and generate a variety of charts and graphs to show trends. Many people use the organizing capabilities of spreadsheets to manage lists of data that they can search and sort in a variety of ways.
Database software such as Microsoft Access can help you manage large quantities of data. To use database applications, you enter sets of student, customer, or other records. A lookup table can streamline your data entry. You can then query sort the data and generate sophisticated reports to help you analyze data from a number of perspectives.
Presentation software such as Microsoft PowerPoint allows you to create digital slide shows, such as the one you’re viewing now. Presentations can contain text, animations, music, narration, and graphics. These elements support the delivery of a presentation or permanent viewing of a self-propelled show.
Graphics, Multimedia, and Web Design
Screen capture software.
Desktop publishing software such as Adobe InDesign and Corel Draw help you place graphical objects and text on a page by using grids and columns. They also provide tools for sophisticated text formatting and picture editing.
With photo editing software, such as PhotoShop, you can modify the content of photos and apply a variety of special effects and modify the content of photos to get your message across to readers.
Multimedia software enables you to work with animations, video, or audio files. You might use this software to create podcasts or edit videos for posting on sites such as YouTube.
Screen capture software
You may find screen capture software useful. With this software, you can capture screenshots from your computer to put into books, presentations, or learning tools.
Although productivity software is used by workers in all kinds of businesses, some specialists use professional business products. An example is accounting software such as QuickBooks and Microsoft Accounting Professional. These software applications allow accounting professionals to work more effectively and efficiently.
People use other types of software to manage business functions including project management, manufacturing design, or purchasing.
Custom and enterprise software
Larger companies sometimes create their own software to handle the very specific processes of their businesses. However, custom software is expensive to create and maintain, so many large companies adopt enterprise software, which addresses common business processes, but is also highly customizable.
Industry Specific Software
Specialized software for specific industries.
Hotel management, medical offices, real estate.
Many industries require specialized software to run their operations.
Examples of industry-specialized software are hotel industry reservation systems and medical records management. Realtors use real estate software to keep track of listings or estimate closing costs.
Mobile versions of productivity software.
Wide variety of tools.
Mobile applications are typically less full-featured than their computer counterparts because of limitations of memory and small screen size. Still, they offer an amazing array of computing possibilities to those on the move.
Mobile versions of productivity software.
Mobile software applications allow you to perform many activities. For example, you can download mobile versions of productivity software, such as Microsoft Office, to read and edit documents from your phone.
Wide variety of tools.
You can find applications that are calculators, currency convertors, or music players. Mobile banking applications and GPS navigation tools are available. Some applications are free, and others cost a small amount.
: Software applications that people typically use to get work done such as word processor, spreadsheet, database, or presentation software. This type of software is often compiled into suites of applications.
word processor software
A type of software used to create documents that include sophisticated text formatting, tables, photos, drawings, and links to online content.
An application with which you can perform calculations on numbers and display other data. In addition, most spreadsheet products offer sophisticated charting and graphing capabilities.
A type of software used to query, organize, sort, and create reports on sets of data such as customer lists.
Software that enables you to create slideshows that include text, graphics, and multimedia.
Software designed to schedule appointments or events and to set up reminders.
An updating of data from one device to another based on changes made to the data of one device.
Software that includes multiple features for organizing in one package, for example, schedule, contact, and email management.
contact management software
A type of software used to store, organize, and retrieve contact information.
customer relationship management (CRM) software
A suite of software or online services used to store and organize client and sales prospect information, and automating and synchronizing other customer-facing business functions such as marketing, customer service, and technical support.
Software that allows you to create, edit, or manipulate images.
desktop publishing (DTP) software
Software used to lay out pages for books, magazines, and other print materials such as product packaging or brochures.
photo editing software
Software designed to enhance photo quality or apply special effects such as blurring elements or feathering the edges of a photo.
screen capture software
Software that enables you to capture an entire computer screen or only a portion of it.
Software that enables you to work with media, such as animation, audio, or video.
Software used to create a series of moving images.
Software that allows you to record and edit audio files.
A short audio presentation that can be posted online.
Software used to create and edit video files.
web authoring software
A type of software that provides tools for creating and editing web pages
used to describe a system in which content (text and graphics) displayed onscreen during editing appears in a form closely corresponding to its appearance when printed or displayed as a finished product. Pronounced Wiz-e-wig.
A category of software that includes computer games that you play on your computer or game console.
Software and/or media that contain both entertainment and educational value.
Learning that typically contains a self-directed element and takes place via the Web using some combination of text, multimedia, and interactive tools.
Software manufacturers add features in new versions.
Software development life cycle (SDLC) is the process used to create a new software product.
Bullet 1: Software products that meet with success in the market come out in new versions every few years. These new versions add often-requested features. But, what is the actual process of developing a new software product or new version of a program?
Bullet 2: The software development life cycle, or SDLC, has evolved over time. SDLC is a procedure that dictates the general flow of creating and launching a new software product.
Software Development Cycle
The process starts with market research to determine the need and potential demand for a software product.
Next, software manufacturers create a plan and a budget for developing the software.
Programmers write the code that makes the software function.
The software goes through at least two versions that are tested by quality assurance workers and members of the public. These are called the alpha and beta versions.
When tests are complete, and the software is in a final version, called the release to manufacturing (RTM) version, it is then reproduced, packaged, and sold to the public.
Once a software product has shipped, the work isn’t done. The manufacturer must fix any problems that are discovered in general usage. These problems are referred to as bugs.
How Software Is Delivered
Packaged or downloaded.
Bullet 1: Software once came in boxes containing a handful of installation disks and lengthy user manuals. You can still buy software in packages. However, the user manual is mostly a thing of the past and the software often fits on a single DVD. When Internet connections became faster, it became possible to download a software product to a computer.
Bullet 2: Many software products are purchased individually, but some come in suites such as Microsoft Works or Corel WordPerfect Office. Key benefits of suites are that they have a consistent interface among products, and you can easily share data among them.
Cloud computing, or web-based software, involves delivery of software as a service over the Internet. You don’t buy a package with disks or download files. Instead, you work with the software using your browser while connected to the Internet. This is called software as a service (SaaS, pronounced “sass”). With cloud computing, updates to software are made in the background so you’re always working with the latest version.
Freeware and shareware.
Some software is available for free (freeware) or for a small fee (shareware). Some are very simplified versions of consumer software. Others have pretty robust feature sets. Today you can find freeware or shareware for most kinds of applications.
Open source software.
The open source movement makes source code, the programming code used to build software, available to everyone so many people can continue to develop the software functionality. Linux is an example of open source software. Some open source products are free, and some have been customized by companies who charge for support.
Larger companies requiring hundreds of copies of a software product for their workers buy software licenses rather than hundreds of packages of software. A license allows the company to install one copy on many computers, or install software on their network and allow a certain number of users to access it that way.
Cloud computing fees.
How do companies charge for cloud computing applications? Some cloud computing vendors charge users a subscription fee. When a contract expires, the vendor disables a user’s access to the software.
software development life cycle (SDLC)
The general flow of creating a new software product. It includes performing market research and business analysis, creating a plan and budget for implementing the software, programming the software, testing the software, releasing the software to the public, and debugging the software.
The first stage of testing a software product.
The 2nd stage of testing a software product.
release to manufacturing (RTM) version
A final version of the software with all identified bugs reconciled so that the software can be duplicated and sold to the public or deployed to internal users.
A computer industry term for a flaw or failure in software that causes it not to work as intended.
Software saved to a physical medium such as a DVD and sold in a box or other package.
A collection of productivity software applications sold as one package using tools common to all the products in the suite.
Software that is hosted on an online provider’s website. You access it over the Internet using your browser. This type of software is not installed on your computer.
A model of software delivery in which software is hosted on an online provider’s website and is accessed over the Internet using a browser. The source application software is not installed on your computer. Also called utility computing.
software as a service (SaaS)
A software delivery model where a provider licenses an application to customers to use as a service on demand.
Software that is made available to use free of charge.
Software for users pay a small fee.
The programming code used to build a software product.
open source software
: A type of software whose source code can be used, edited, and distributed by anyone.
software on demand
See software as service (SaaS).
Services that allow users to store documents online.
GNU General Public License
A policy that specifies polices about creating open-source software, including that source code has to be made available to all users and developers.
sending data to another application.
bringing data in from another application.
rich text format (RTF)
A text format with only basic formatting information that most software products can open or import.
comma-separated-values (CSV) format
: A format that separates each piece of data in a file with a comma.
handwriting recognition software
A type of software that enables a computer to recognize handwritten notes and convert them into text.
speech recognition software
A type of software that enables a computer to recognize human speech and convert it into text.
object linking and embedding (OLE)
A technology that allows content to be treated as objects that can be inserted into different software documents even if they were created using different software.
: An object that has been inserted into software documents using object linking and embedding (OLE) technology.
A small application that cannot run on its own but allows suites of software products to share functionality such as diagramming or drawing.
The part of a file name that identifies the program to launch when the file is double-clicked. It is commonly a set of 3 or 4 characters following a period at the end of the file name. For example, for the file index.htm, “index” identifies the file and “htm” is the extension, indicating in this case that a browser such as Internet Explorer would launch to view the HTML (web page) file.