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Application software, also known as an application or an app, is computer software designed to help the user to perform specific tasks. Examples include enterprise software, accounting software, office suites, graphics software and media players. Many application programs deal principally with documents. Applications may be bundled with the computer and its system software, or may be published separately. In recent years, the abbreviation "app" has specifically come to mean application software written for mobile devices, with the abbreviation in particular representing both the smaller size and smaller scope of the software (i.e. an app whose sole purpose is to display an image representation of the current weather).
Application software is contrasted with system software and middleware, which manage and integrate a computer's capabilities, but typically do not directly apply in the performance of tasks that benefit the user. The system software serves the application, which in turn serves the user.
Similar relationships apply in other fields. For example, a shopping mall does not provide the merchandise a shopper is seeking, but provides space and services for retailers that serve the shopper. A bridge may similarly support rail tracks which support trains, allowing the trains to transport passengers.
Application software applies the power of a particular computing platform or system software to a particular purpose. Some applications are available in versions for several different platforms; others have narrower requirements and are thus called, for example, a Geography application for Windows or an Android application for education or Linux gaming. Sometimes a new and popular application arises which only runs on one platform, increasing the desirability of that platform. This is called a killer application.
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