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    Troll in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default what is an "app" vs "program"

    I'm used to referring to things run on a computer as computer programs. But lately I hear folk talking about Outlook, Word, and other things that run on computers as "apps", when they seem just like normal computer programs to me. I first heard the word "app" to basically refer to (in my mind) programs or things emulating programs that run on a phone.

    Is there any real difference between program and app?

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    Default Re: what is an "app" vs "program"

    Quote Originally Posted by JeenLeen View Post
    I'm used to referring to things run on a computer as computer programs. But lately I hear folk talking about Outlook, Word, and other things that run on computers as "apps", when they seem just like normal computer programs to me. I first heard the word "app" to basically refer to (in my mind) programs or things emulating programs that run on a phone.

    Is there any real difference between program and app?
    In general, "app" refers to a program designed for end users, like the longer "application" does. I suspect the term became popular because of its easy, simple sound (compare to e.g. "prog", which sounds harsh; and "ram", which could get mixed up with memory/sheep/trucks/collisions/etc.).
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    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: what is an "app" vs "program"

    "App" is short for "application", which is what Apple called executable programs in the early Mac days. The shortening came into vogue around the start of smartphones, when the name got attached to little programs on phones and such--"there's an app for that." Possibly non-coincidental is that the iPhone apps sound like little Apples.

    But the "application" term could possibly predate Macintoshes, but I'm unaware of any instances.

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    Default Re: what is an "app" vs "program"

    Quote Originally Posted by JeenLeen View Post
    Is there any real difference between program and app?
    No, they are synonymous. Program has other meanings as well, but both mean the same as "executable" - a set of instructions that accomplish a set of goals packaged under a single UI for ease of use by humans through some electronic interface.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasdoif View Post
    I suspect the term became popular because of its easy, simple sound.
    The term became popular thanks to a very successful PR campaign ("There is an app for that"), but I can believe the term was selected for said campaign on the basis of the characteristics you mention.

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    Default Re: what is an "app" vs "program"

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    The term became popular thanks to a very successful PR campaign ("There is an app for that"), but I can believe the term was selected for said campaign on the basis of the characteristics you mention.

    GW
    I don't doubt it became popular due to the PR campaign, but wasn't it commonplace (at least somewhat) before that? I imagine it began life as .app file extension
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    Flumph

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    Default Re: what is an "app" vs "program"

    Quote Originally Posted by TaRix View Post
    "App" is short for "application", which is what Apple called executable programs in the early Mac days. The shortening came into vogue around the start of smartphones, when the name got attached to little programs on phones and such--"there's an app for that." Possibly non-coincidental is that the iPhone apps sound like little Apples.

    But the "application" term could possibly predate Macintoshes, but I'm unaware of any instances.
    An Application used to be a set of one or more programs packaged under one banner and (usually) designed to work together - Microsoft Office, for example, was an application consisting of Word, Excel, Powerpoint (and for the more expensive versions, Access). Word, Access and Excel themselves had several subprograms and could be considered applications in their own right.

    As you can see, it's not a big jump from "Application" to "App".

    My old job title (those many years ago) was Application(s) Programmer, and one of our business units is still referred to as Applications Management. Applications consisting of several hundred descrete programs (each performing a specific business function) were not unusual.
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    Default Re: what is an "app" vs "program"

    Apps are modern and hip. It's what the cool kids call it.
    Programs are old fashioned and square.
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    BardGuy

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    Default Re: what is an "app" vs "program"

    I figured it was something like y'all described, but thank you for confirmation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Apps are modern and hip. It's what the cool kids call it.
    Programs are old fashioned and square.
    I am an old man at heart.

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    Default Re: what is an "app" vs "program"

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    I don't doubt it became popular due to the PR campaign, but wasn't it commonplace (at least somewhat) before that? I imagine it began life as .app file extension
    The term dates back to the 80s and 90s, well before Mac OS X (which uses the .app extension) was ever developed. The search for and declaration of "killer apps" for computer hardware was definitely "the thing" in '90s computer and video game magazines, as I recall it.

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    Default Re: what is an "app" vs "program"

    All of the above, but I'd like to add. The most common usage from people who know a bit more* would be in the scope and scale of the program in question. An app is a small application, hence dropping the last part of the name.

    There was/is some functional differences.

    For systems like Windows 8 which ran on multiple platforms there was a distinct difference in running something as an "app" or as a "program". You could have the same basic functionality in e.g. Skype (one I remember stumbling on several version with different characteristics depending on target group, Skype even had a different name when targeting businesses), but one was pared down and adapted to run on a closed limited system like tablets and phones and would be the Skype app, whereas a desktop computer could run the full Skype application. You could even run the "app" version on desktop sometimes.

    They used to make a Windows RT that only ran on ARM architecture and this device could only run "app" versions of Microsoft programs.

    *for the vast majority of people there is no meaningful distinction, other than maybe "apps run on phones, programs on computers".

    In short, for me at least "app", still represents a much more limited program than an application would be. And usually specifically designed for a more limited context.
    I guess a more technical difference for me would be an app cannot take (much) user-defined input to change itself or ti's behaviour, whereas an application can be more broadly and specifically tooled by the user.
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    Default Re: what is an "app" vs "program"

    The OSI 7 layer networking model has application as the user level (physical is at the other end, like wires and stuff), that may have played into it.
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    Default Re: what is an "app" vs "program"

    In my understanding, an app refers to a given platform/
    "Store".
    You distribute your app tailored to a certain store and gutantee that it runs there on that platform.

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    Default Re: what is an "app" vs "program"

    Definitions in a living language have always been loose and imprecise but I say there is a distinction. App is an application designed for mobile devices (and is inherently limited in scope by this platform) and/or on a marketplace restricted by safety and quality criteria (besides running at all).
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: what is an "app" vs "program"

    In my understanding a "program" is a general term that covers any compiled executable code. An "application" is a program designed to fulfill a specific purpose or solve a specific problem, and "app" is just a diminutive contraction of that.

    There's a weight of difference between calling something a "art app" and an "art program" - the former sounds like it's limited in scope and complexity, while the latter feels like it handles a wider assortment of tasks.
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    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: what is an "app" vs "program"

    The terms are extremely fluid.
    App can be short for either "application" or for "mobile application". Mobile applications tend to be more limited in scope than personal computer or server applications.
    Then you have programs that are both application programs or utility programs, depending on who is using them. DISM for example is a utility if an end user starts it to repair their Windows image, but an application if an IT guy uses it to deploy updated drivers to a bunch of company laptops. Websters dictionary defines app as solely a mobile app, but that doesn't exactly rhyme with everyday use.
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    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Re: what is an "app" vs "program"

    Programs are made by programmers, while applications are made by applicators.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: what is an "app" vs "program"

    Quote Originally Posted by KillianHawkeye View Post
    Programs are made by programmers, while applications are made by applicators.
    I'm afraid you are in error here: while it is true that programmers program programs, applicators merely apply applications.

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    Flumph

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    Default Re: what is an "app" vs "program"

    Quote Originally Posted by Aeson View Post
    I'm afraid you are in error here: while it is true that programmers program programs, applicators merely apply applications.
    Except in DevOps, where they do both. Or neither - I'm never quite sure which...
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    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Re: what is an "app" vs "program"

    Quote Originally Posted by KillianHawkeye View Post
    Programs are made by programmers, while applications are made by applicators.
    Quote Originally Posted by Aeson View Post
    I'm afraid you are in error here: while it is true that programmers program programs, applicators merely apply applications.
    joke++

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