We use computers and smartphones almost daily, but we rarely stop to think about what is going on in the background while we are using the said software. Computers and smartphones run lots of code while we are doing almost anything and even when we are not doing anything.
Some type of code is executed and stored in memory and it awaits our commands. When code is stored in the memory, it is typically done to increase the speed and lower the wait time between various tasks.
There are various types of software, but let us look at what software is, first, before jumping on a different type of train.
What is Software?
In the simplest possible way, software is a set of instructions that execute various commands. That seems rather general, and it is. Software can be a button you press to turn on a program, or an entire engine which helps run a video game.
Software can be an operating system or a simple application you use to track the data within that one video game that you keep playing for days. Software can be simple or very complex but what it does is help bridge the gap between the computer and the user, making the user’s tasks much easier.
The Software We Use – Low and High
At the lowest end of things, there is machine code, which are zeroes and ones to be specific. People can write in machine code, but that would take a lot of time and knowledge. This is where assembly language comes and helps translate other code into machine code.
Operating systems are used to enable various other high-level applications to talk to the processing unit and tell it what to execute. This makes development of applications for the end user much simpler, because compilers will be able to tell the machine what to do and not every application will have to communicate with the machine directly.
High software is used to help the user interact directly with the machine. Anything from graphical user interfaces, file managers, browsers, writing and editing tools, photo editors and so on and so forth, is high level software. Video games are also high level software, but they are typically meant for entertainment, while other pieces of software have other use cases, educational and practical.
Cloud software has been a recent development, where the software doesn’t run on your machine, but on a server. You get the client version through a browser or similar application, where you type in data but the server actually processes the code and runs the numbers.
We use different types of software every single time we use a computer or smartphone and these are but some of the things that happen in the background.