When the first computers were developed, very few tools were available to control them. At that time, algorithms were developed to perform certain tasks but without being able to automate them as such.
This is when the need to unite several algorithms to create more complex tools that allow controlling more powerful functions of the computers of the time was born. These are known as computer programs, and its emergence helped shape the way we use computers today.
With its appearance, the growth of computer technologies accelerated, and it required the creation of more powerful equipment that in turn could execute faster and more efficient programs. In this article you will learn everything you need to know about them.
What is a computer program and what are these digital tools for?
A computer program is nothing more than a sequence of instructions written in an imperative or declarative language, which has the ability to control and manage the resources of a computer or smart device.
Programs are an essential piece of software for the operation of a computer, since these are the ones that, in addition to allowing various functions, it is also a direct link so that the user can use the equipment freely.
Computer programs are written in matrix code or source code, which is a sequence of instructions written in what is known as “programming language”, which is nothing more than imperative or declarative expressions that indicate each action that the computer can perform with them.
The source code of a program is made by computer programmers, who are professionals with years of study and experience writing all kinds of software and have a perfect command of certain languages necessary for the creation of one.
What types of computer programs exist and how are each one characterized?
Computer programming is a very complex world, but its classification is much simpler than you think. To date two types of computer programs are known, which are classified according to their nature.
These are the most basic programs, since they create the perfect ecosystem so that the user can use all the functions of the computer, as well as allow certain applications to be executed. These are also known as operating systems.
These are the normal programs with which we interact on our computer, they are those that allow direct control over the resources of the equipment. From our web browser, going through the text editor to our favorite video game. All those programs executed within an operating system fall under the classification of application software.
What are the most important elements that make up a software?
Computer software is very complex files, so there are several important elements involved in running one.
Here are what they are:
Before even defining how a program works, it is important to make the choice of programming language. This is because that decision will largely define how complex and powerful our program can become.
This is because programming languages have their levels of complexity and above all their principles, each one having certain characteristics that make it more or less powerful than others. For example, a very popular language is HTML5. This is the most used to develop websites, but for the creation of more complex programs it is not so convenient, so it is generally used in this type of project as a complement to more powerful languages.
The source code is a file that contains all the code that gives structure to the program, since it contains line by line all the commands that the equipment must execute to function perfectly. This in turn is written in a programming language that the developer has decided on.
The executable file is a binary file, directly connected to the matrix code, which is used by the user and the computer to start any computer program. In this sense there are two types of them; portable and non-portable.
Portable executables are those that can be run on various platforms without limitations, such as Java. For their part, the non-portables are those that can only be started on a specific platform.
A compiler is a program that is used to translate the instructions of a program written in a certain programming language into another language. This second language is generally of type machine or in bytecode.
As you know, computers only understand one language, which is binary code. Programming languages do not fall into this category, and are generally useful in helping us humans to program. However, after you need an element that translates these instructions into binary code, and that is precisely the function of the compiler.
Object files are the result of the creation of an executable by a compiler. It contains all the lines of code for each of the functions that a software allows to perform, these being consulted by the team when the user indicates to perform any of these specific functions.
What is the life cycle of software and how does it work?
The life cycle of a software is the process that includes all the phases that a program goes through from the conception of its idea to its subsequent launch on the market. Usually, a series of stages are followed that must be fulfilled for the development of the program to be successful.
The life cycle of a computer program is not a recipe for how to make one, but rather a guide to what are the most important aspects that we must take into account when designing and developing it. However, there is no single way to do it and there are different currents of thought or paradigms for it.
In that sense, the most important models are:
- Agile model: agile software development is a method that minimizes processes as much as possible and does not follow an orderly line to carry them out, but instead fulfills them according to the needs of the program as it develops.
- Waterfall: This was the first and the most common and used of all. It is a model in which an orderly roadmap of all the processes for the development of the program is established, which must be completed in perfect order, being impossible to start one without having started the previous one.
- Spiral: This model is very similar to the previous one, with the difference that it organizes the phases in work cycles, with well-defined goals. When one cycle ends, another one automatically starts, creating a well-ordered sequence of work with little room for error.
- Object oriented: it is a much more modular model that allows all phases of program development to be divided into a series of “mini-projects”, which make it easier to achieve objectives and reduce the margins of error.
- Code n fix– This model is more extreme than the others and doesn’t really follow a specific order. In this, you immediately start writing code once the intention of the software is established, and then enter a testing phase in which possible errors are corrected on the fly.
- Prototypes: finally, there is this model that is based on the development of prototypes which will be improved and enhanced until a final and clean version of the program to be created is achieved.
If you want to know more about the life cycle of a software you can check the article that we have written on the subject.
List of the most important and used computer programs of the last decade
Now that you know everything you need to know about computer programs, it’s time to refresh your memory by talking about the most important ones that have been developed in recent decades:
Windows is a system or operating system software developed by Microsoft. Since its launch in the late 20th century, It has been updated until getting a very solid version in its current Windows 10. However, throughout its history other very successful versions can be identified at the time, such as Windows XP or Windows 7.
This is an application software used for bitmap image editing. Although we specifically name it, it must be said that its developers, ADOBE, have the most representative and powerful programs in this sector. Programs such as Illustrator, Premiere Pro or After Effects are true pillars of the audiovisual industry today.
Microsoft Word Office
Another gem from Microsoft that would totally change the way we saw computers in the past. Word is a text engine that allows you to create all kinds of documents in digital version. The Office suite to which it belongs also includes other office automation programs known as Excel, PowerPoint, among others.
Solitaire is one of the most legendary computer games out there. It was included in 90s versions of Windows, and has always been a user favorite. We know there are a million better games than this, but in terms of historical significance, none like the Solitaire, so we have decided to put it as a tribute.
One of the most important internet browsers in history. Although during the past decade he suffered cataclysmic bullying, no one can take away his dancing since at the time he was the fastest of all, especially in versions like Windows XP. It is currently behind Chrome or Mozilla, but historically it will always be above them.
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