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3. Sources of applications

An application can come from different sources. But the basic choices are

  • Off-the-shelf: Purchase the complete application from a commercial source as a finished product.
  • Custom: Purchase the application which is then altered to suit your requirements.
  • Bespoke: Write it yourself or pay someone else to do it.

Of course you can expect the costs to rise rapidly as you move from an off the shelf product to a fully bespoke application, but they do come with some advantages.

application type

Off-the-shelf (general purpose application)

A general purpose application, sometimes known as ‘off-the-shelf’ is the sort of software that you??use at home and school.?? Examples include word processors, spreadsheets, databases, etc. Often these come packaged together as a 'suite' or 'integrated package' of applications. For example, Microsoft Office.

Off-the-shelf software provides features that the majority of users will want e.g. formatting text, creating charts, organising tables.?? But because it tries to be 'all things to all people', it will also include many features that the average customer may never use. For example, statistical functions, or mail merge.??All of these extra features mean that off-the-shelf applications can get quite large.

There are several good reasons for using general purpose software:

  • It is relatively cheap
  • It is easily available from most computer shops
  • It will have been thoroughly tested so there won’t be any serious problems or bugs
  • There will be lots of user support i.e. books, user guides, online help and discussion forums on the Internet

Challenge see if you can find out one extra fact on this topic that we haven't already told you

Click on this link: What is bespoke software