Computer programs may be categorized along functional lines. The main functional categories are system software and application software. System software includes the operating system which couples computer hardware with application software. The purpose of the operating system is to provide an environment in which application software executes in a convenient and efficient manner. In addition to the operating system, system software includes utility programs that help manage and tune the computer. If a computer program is not system software then it is application software. Application software includes middleware, which couples the system software with the user interface. Application software also includes utility programs that help users solve application problems, like the need for sorting.
Sometimes development environments for software development are seen as a functional category on its own, especially in the context of human-computer interaction and programming language design. Development environments gather system software (such as compilers and system's batch processing scripting languages) and application software (such as IDEs) for the specific purpose of helping programmers create new programs.
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