Application software (an application) is a set of computer programs designed to permit the user to perform a group of coordinated functions, tasks, or activities. Application software cannot run on itself but is dependent on system software to execute. Examples of an application include a word processor, a spreadsheet design and management system, an aeronautical flight simulator, a console game, a drawing, painting, and illustrating system, or a library management system.
The term is used to distinguish such software from system software, which manages and integrates a computer's capabilities but does not directly perform tasks that benefit the user, and utility software, which is directly concerned with altering or managing the computer's operating environment.
Examples of types of application software may include accounting software, media players, and office suites. Many application programs deal principally with documents. Applications may be bundled with the computer and its system software or published separately, and may be coded as e.g. proprietary, open-source or university projects.
In information technology, an application is a computer program designed to help people perform an activity. An application thus differs from an operating system (which runs a computer), a utility (which performs maintenance or general-purpose chores), and aprogramming tool (with which computer programs are created). Depending on the activity for which it was designed, an application can manipulate text, numbers, graphics, or a combination of these elements. Some application packages focus on a single task, such as word processing; others, called integrated software include several applications.
User-written software tailors systems to meet the user's specific needs. User-written software includes spreadsheet templates, word processor macros, scientific simulations, graphics and animation scripts. Even email filters are a kind of user software. Users create this software themselves and often overlook how important it is.
The delineation between system software such as operating systems and application software is not exact, however, and is occasionally the object of controversy. For example, one of the key questions in the United States v. Microsoft antitrust trial was whether Microsoft's Internet Explorer web browser was part of its Windows operating system or a separable piece of application software. As another example, the GNU/Linux naming controversy is, in part, due to disagreement about the relationship between the Linux kernel and the operating systems built over this kernel. In some types of embedded systems, the application software and the operating system software may be indistinguishable to the user, as in the case of software used to control a VCR, DVD player or microwave oven. The above definitions may exclude some applications that may exist on some computers in large organizations. For an alternative definition of an app: see Application Portfolio Management.
see more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Application_software