Quick question - what's the difference between an 'app' and a 'program'?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by sharifi14, Jan 4, 2009.

  1. macrumors member

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    Jun 10, 2006
    #1
    People seem to use the words 'application' and 'program' interchangeably. What's the difference? Many thanks,
     
  2. macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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  3. macrumors 603

    Cromulent

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    #3
    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.
     
  4. macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #4
    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.
     
  5. Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #5
    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.
     
  6. macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #6
    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.
     
  7. macrumors regular

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    #7
    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.
     
  8. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2006
    #8
    Many thanks for all your feedback - I now feel more enlightened! However, the following post hit the nail on the head:

    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,
     
  9. macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #9
    Exactly. This is one of the differences between Apple and Microsoft. Apple at least makes an effort to be consistent.
     
  10. macrumors 68000

    Porco

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2005
    #10
    One can be a verb, one can't!

    I can program. I can't 'application'. :p

    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. :)
     
  11. macrumors 604

    SnowLeopard2008

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    #11
    WinSucks = program
    Apple Rules = application/app.
     
  12. macrumors regular

    PhilaScott

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    #12
    I love this site! LOL
    Geeks just know how to get in the weeds SO quickly!
     

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