What is Software Package or Application Package, Types, Advantages and Disadvantages

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In this article you will learn about the use of software packages: a software package, also known as application package is a ready-made application program for solving common business problem. Different types of application packages for solving different type of user’s problem will be discussed in this article.

Application packages: 

An application package is a collection of standardized and well tested ready made program
use for solving computing problem.  ” common computing problems” refers to computing problem that are general in nature, l.e a problem that cut across a large audience. Problem such as typing, database management, and spreadsheet application are some examples of problems considered to be general in nature ; software packages exist for them. The reason for addressing general problem is so that the application package will provide computing solution to a wide audience.

General features of application package

1. An application package addresses solution to a specific common problem except for integrated parkages.

2. Application package provides user friendly environment to work in.

3. Application package are error free

4. Application package are to be installed in computer before use. The procedure for installation is an easy and simple one.

5. Application package are available as off the shelf product in vendors’ offices.

6. Application package are inexpensive

7. An application package is restricted to a specific scope of coverage.

8. Source code are not provided for buyers of off the shelf application package.

Types of application package
Application package are classified as type according to:
1. Method of acquisition
2. Nature of problem solved

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A. Type according to method of acquisition
Application package can be acquired in one of the three ways. And each method of acquisition portrays a class of application packages. Therefore the classes are considered as types of application packages; they are:

1. Off-the-shelf package
2. Altered-off-the-shelf packages
3. Custom-tailored packages

1.Off-the-shelf packages: they are the package that are brought from software vendors. The sources programs are not provided so they cannot be amended by the user. Therefore, user are restricted to the scope of the parkage. They are usually developed for solving problem that are general in nature so that they may enjoy a high patronage.

2. Altered-off-the-shelf packages:  this packages also handles problem of a general nature, but an organization can reach agreement with the developer so that the source code will be provided. Then, it will be possible to amend program to conform to changing requirements in the organization.

3. Custom-Tailored Packages: These are the packages developed only to include peculiar features of an organization. These types of packages are not general in nature. The packages will not be transferable. The development of this type of package is usually by contracting to software development firm or by in-house programmers. The source code will be provided and maintenance can be handled in-house.

B. Type according to nature of program solved: 
Application packages are also classified to types according to the nature of problem solved. Some of these are:

1. Spreadsheet
2. Word processing packages
3. Graphical packages
4. Statistical packages
5. Accounting Packages
6. Database management packages, etc


Advantages and disadvantages of using application package


1. Application packages are user-friendly by providing facilities that make user work with little or no supervision.
2. They are easy to acquire and install
3. There is no need to learn programming
4. They are not expensive
5. Improves familiarity with use of computer
6. Provide computing facility for all and sundry


1. Discourages the interest to learn programming
2. Its usage is restricted to the scope covered by the package
3. Off-the-shelf packages cannot be amended because source code is not provided

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