Recently I came across quite an interesting question. A friend of mine asked me what software is. I thought that this was a very valid question, as not many people can produce a definition on the spot. After some short research I came across a brilliant definition on Wikipedia:
Software is a collection of computer programs and related data that provide a computer with instructions on what to do and how to do it.
I think it is a very adequate definition. Not every computer program is software. Software is a collection of programs which coupled with data allows the computer to perform certain tasks.
Ok, so how is the software made? Well this is usually a long process which involves writing loads of lines of code. The code (or the computer program syntax) can be written in a number of computer languages by computer programmers or software developers. They usually use some development tools like IDE (integrated development environment). The most popular IDE on the market is Visual Studio.
Visual Studio allows developers to create computer programs using a number of computer languages. Most popular computer languages used in Visual Studio are C++, C# and VB.NET.
A long time ago developers noticed that they spend most of their time writing the same code over and over again. They then created a theory of object oriented programming. This theory allows developers to create short computer programs called objects which can be reused multiple times in building their future programs.
There are also commercially available components on the market which make writing computer programs quicker and easier. Two of the main publishers of such components are ComponentOne and Telerik.
Once you create your application you will need packaging software which will take care of the installation process. There are two leading software packaging products on the market: InstallShield and Wise Package Studio. These packages will allow you to create an easy installation process for your customers to follow in order to correctly install your applications on their computers.
Good luck with your first project! Let us know how it went.