There are several different types of software in the computer world. If we make a classification according to the functions of the software we will see that we can group it in four well defined categories and quite different from each other.
The most popular ones are: application software (such as text editors, multimedia players, etc.), system software (such as drivers or operating systems), programming software and finally the famous malicious software (within which we find viruses, trojans and malware in general, that is, programs intended to cause problems to the user). This article focuses on the third type of software mentioned in the previous paragraph, which is obviously programming software.
What is Programming Software?
First of all, we must define exactly what programming software is: programming software is a rather peculiar type of software that stands out for being the one used to create other software, that is to say, they are programs and tools that are used to create other programs and tools.
Most programming software comes equipped with everything a programmer may need to carry out his tasks. Among the utilities that are integrated can be found for example a word processor, a debugger, different types of compilers, among others.
Origins of the Programming Software
Although the first records date back to the 1940s, the truth is that programming software had its origins around a thousand years ago, at a time when computers obviously did not even exist.
Of course, it wasn’t software as we know it today, but devices and machines that were “programmed” to perform different “tasks”, and by tasks we mean something as simple as playing a drum beat.
In the 19th century there were several advances in this area, although it was still far from what we know today. The idea of storing data in a machine that could interpret them arose towards the end of that century.
Types of programming software
Text editors: as the name says, these are programs whose purpose is to process and store text, plain and simple. They should not be confused with programs like Word, which offer many more possibilities and functions. The task of the text editor is that we can use it to write and view the content of plain text files.
Compilers: the compiler is a tool whose function is to carry out a translation of the code of a software, so that it can be correctly interpreted by a computer to achieve a successful execution. The compiler basically has the task of converting a high level language into a low level language that the hardware can interpret.
Interpreter: also known as interpreter is the program that allows us to perform an analysis and/or an execution of a code written in a high level programming language. Compared to compilers, interpreters are more complex and usually work more slowly, although they also have greater flexibility.
Linkers: sometimes called linkers, the function of these is to create links between different objects obtained from the first phase of a compilation, to later join them in a single file or file that can be executed.
Debuggers: often known as debuggers, these utilities allow the developer to test the code of his software, in order to detect and eliminate errors in it. Most of them provide the possibility of interpreting a code step by step, which makes it easier to detect software failures.
Integrated Development Environment: abbreviated as EDI or IDE, these are basically all-in-one tools that integrate several types of programming software, such as a text editor, a compiler and a debugger.
Examples of the most used programming software
There are a huge amount of tools for developing software, so let’s take a look at some of the most used ones.
NetBeans is one of the most popular and widely used integrated development environments in the world, and is also a free software program. It is mainly used for programming in Java, although different modules can be used to extend its functions. Many programmers who work with PHP also use it, especially those who make use of the Symfony framework.
- Microsoft Visual Studio
Microsoft Visual Studio has long been considered one of the best IDEs for creating software of all kinds. It is a cross-platform tool and has support for many popular languages, including for example PHP, Java, Python, C++, Ruby, among others.
GeneXus is a powerful development software that is mainly used in the business sector, and allows us to create applications for Windows environments, mobile applications and also websites. For web developers it is especially useful since it has integration with different types of database engines such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, etc.
WinDev is a very popular EDI and is mainly used when making applications quickly, particularly with a focus on data. It gives the user different graphic models to choose from and is highly interactive. It has support for Java, C# and .NET, and even offers the possibility of creating programs for platforms such as Linux and Mac.
Notepad++ probably the most used text and source code editor in the world. It’s free and extremely lightweight, not to mention that it has support for over 50 programming languages and even gives us the ability to add our own languages.
Popular applications written with programming software
- XYplorer: This is a file management software oriented for Windows and was developed in Visual Basic. It has gained quite popularity in the last few years and has a free and licensed version.
- Minecraft: is a very popular video game created in Java. It is an open world game where the player is free to create all kinds of constructions, explore, fight and improve his character, integrating also several online modes to play games with other players around the world.
- ThinkFree: This is a set of office programs created in Java and compatible with various platforms such as Android, Windows, Linux and Mac OS. This office suite consists of 5 tools: the word processor Write, a spreadsheet known as Calc, presentation software called Show, an HTML editor and also a blog editor called Note.
- Oracle Developer Studio: formerly known as Oracle Solaris Studio, this is an IDE based on NetBeans and oriented to environments such as Solaris, RHEL and several Linux distributions.
- Sweet Home 3D: This is an architecture and graphic design program that allows us to create 2D plans of a house or rooms and then see the results in a three-dimensional environment.
- Chrome: the popular Google web browser is mainly made in Visual Studio, as it is a tool that can perform advanced analysis and debugging of C + +. Chrome is the most used browser in the world today, and it is made from the Chromium project.