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Old Jan 4, 2009, 11:46 AM   #1
sharifi14
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Quick question - what's the difference between an 'app' and a 'program'?

People seem to use the words 'application' and 'program' interchangeably. What's the difference? Many thanks,
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Old Jan 4, 2009, 11:48 AM   #2
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Old Jan 4, 2009, 12:14 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by sharifi14 View Post
People seem to use the words 'application' and 'program' interchangeably. What's the difference? Many thanks,
None in that context. There is a difference between a .app bundle and say a command line program in Mac OS X. A .app bundle is actually a folder containing both the executable and all the resources that the program requires. Where as a command line program or any non native program tend to be just the executable code itself.
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Old Jan 4, 2009, 12:40 PM   #4
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Technically there is no difference. However, Apple's official term is "application" and they seem to stick by it consistently. Microsoft doesn't appear to have a consistent nomenclature -- "program" is the term used most often in the Windows world, but I have also seen Microsoft use the term "application" in some places.
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Old Jan 4, 2009, 12:45 PM   #5
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Besides the difference in parlance, as above, technically, program does describe a broader class of entities that contain executable code, including various programs that make up system processes, daemons, etc, that would rarely be called "applications," whereas the term "application" is almost always reserved for a program that interacts directly with the user in some way -- is run by the user, receives directions / commands from the user, has an interface, etc.
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Old Jan 4, 2009, 10:08 PM   #6
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Well technically you are right, but I thought the OP was probably asking in the context of how the terms are used by Apple and Microsoft.
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Old Jan 4, 2009, 10:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkrishnan View Post
Besides the difference in parlance, as above, technically, program does describe a broader class of entities that contain executable code, including various programs that make up system processes, daemons, etc, that would rarely be called "applications," whereas the term "application" is almost always reserved for a program that interacts directly with the user in some way -- is run by the user, receives directions / commands from the user, has an interface, etc.
I agree with this, and in addition, IMHO an application refers to something grander. If I write a little program, even if it has a few inputs, I wouldn't call it an application until it's useful to others and has some scale.
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Old Jan 5, 2009, 02:40 PM   #8
sharifi14
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Many thanks for all your feedback - I now feel more enlightened! However, the following post hit the nail on the head:

Quote:
Originally Posted by IJ Reilly View Post
Well technically you are right, but I thought the OP was probably asking in the context of how the terms are used by Apple and Microsoft.
On Windows I've always called programs/applications 'programs' (mainly due to the 'All Programs' menu on the Start menu). But in a lot of Microsoft's promotional copy they talk about 'applications' and 'apps', which led me to think there was a fundamental difference.

It's probably just because Apple have made the word 'application' and 'app' quite cool, so Microsoft decided to follow suit. Thanks again,
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Old Jan 5, 2009, 05:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sharifi14 View Post
On Windows I've always called programs/applications 'programs' (mainly due to the 'All Programs' menu on the Start menu). But in a lot of Microsoft's promotional copy they talk about 'applications' and 'apps', which led me to think there was a fundamental difference.
Exactly. This is one of the differences between Apple and Microsoft. Apple at least makes an effort to be consistent.
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Old Jan 5, 2009, 06:19 PM   #10
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One can be a verb, one can't!

I can program. I can't 'application'.

Seriously, I like 'application / app' better as a term, in most cases you can think of it as literally being the application of a program. The programmers program, and put that together with resources that the program uses (graphics etc), and the final thing is the application of that program.

That's just the way my head sees it though, not an official explanation.
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Old Jan 5, 2009, 06:28 PM   #11
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WinSucks = program
Apple Rules = application/app.
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Old Jan 6, 2009, 06:08 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sharifi14 View Post
Many thanks for all your feedback - I now feel more enlightened!
I love this site! LOL
Geeks just know how to get in the weeds SO quickly!
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