One thing you may have heard lately is the phrase “hosted software”. What exactly does this mean? How is it different from normal software? This article will try to explain hosted software and some of its benefits over traditional commercial software.
Traditional Software Production
We should start by explaining how standard software gets to your computer. The first programmers write code. This becomes a CD, which you can use to install the software. This CD is replicated and packaged in a large manufacturing plant. The finished software packages are sent to several stores through a distribution network. Once in the store, you can go buy the software and take it home or to work. The software must be installed on your computer. Finally with the software installed you can start using it. You typically don’t think about the steps that occur before the software reaches the store, however, each of these steps is quite expensive. Those costs must be paid for by you when you purchase the available software.
Most of the things you buy are physical and should use a similar process. A new shirt should go from the cotton plant to the factory, to the store, and all the steps in between. On the other hand, with software, things change a lot. We are no longer limited by physical limitations. Thanks to the Internet, digital information, such as email and software, can flow freely.
Hosted software production
The hosted software starts the same way, with programmers writing code. Instead of creating a software CD for production, the software is installed directly on a server. A server is a computer that is assigned a specific task, such as running a website or, in this case, software for you. As with a website, you can now use the software that is running on the server. Therefore, hosted software is simply software that runs on a special server that you use from your computer.
To better understand this, an understanding of how computer software works will help. The part of the software that you see and use is called the User Interface. Think of it as the steering wheel and pedals of a car. There is much more in a car under the hood that makes it work, however, the pedals and wheel are what is used to drive the car. The software has more pedals and that, but they serve for the same function. The user interface will take your information and use the data and logic of the software to do the work for you. For example, you can enter “2 + 2 =” in the user interface of a calculator. The software will use your Data & Logic to tell you that the answer is “4. You can enter “Oprius” as your company name in your address book software and then the software will use your Data & Logic to store that information for you.
Software on Your Computer
The software you buy in the store has both the User Interface and the Data and Logic running on your computer. This works well until the computer has problems and all valuable data is lost. The hosted software works a little differently.
Using your web browser, the user interface runs from your computer. The difference is that instead of the user interface talking to the data and logic of your computer, it does so on the website of the hosted software. This information is sent back and forth over the Internet and is often encrypted to prevent unwanted people from looking at your data.
In the case of Oprius, instead of having to install the software on your computer and run it there, but without the installation, update, backup and other headaches associated with the software that runs on your computer.
So this is software hosted in a few words. The key difference is that you use it from your web browser. In most cases, it works just like the software that runs on your computer. Over time, as more companies realize the many benefits of hosted software, they will see that more and more are created. And now you know exactly what it is.