Platforms for Software Development

The first electronic computer was developed nearly sixty years ago. Thereafter, various types of computers have been developed to meet different needs. This has led to creation of different platforms for software development.

For a computer, a platform would describe the hardware architecture or software framework (which would also include application framework) that would allow software to run. Therefore, a computer platform would include its architecture, operating system, programming languages used, related run time libraries and graphical user interface being used.

In case of computer hardware, platform would generally describe the different hardware components of the computer being used for which the software has been specifically developed. Pure assembly language would run on kind of hardware platform. But, specific operating systems have been developed to run on a specific hardware platform. These operating systems farther become the platform for different software programs developed to run on such operating system.

In case of software, a platform would mean as ‘a place to launch software’. Platform provider would provide guarantee to the software developer that logic code of the software will be interpreted consistently on the platform. Logic code would include source code, byte code and machine code.

Software platforms are more commonly known as APIs. The proper functioning of these APIs generally depends on operating system of the computer. But, there are a few exceptions to this rule. One of such non-OS specific platform for computers is Java, and the other is BREW for mobile phones.

Java is the best example non-OS specific software platform. Java source code would be compiled to a machine independent byte code. This byte code is then interpreted by an interpreter specific to the operating system to enable it to run on the computer. This interpreter is known as Java Virtual Machine or JVM.

The software platform developed by Microsoft is known by the name of .NET. It is similarly to Java in its behavior. This platform is compatible with many technologies and products developed by Microsoft. Most common of them is known as .NET Framework which is a part of Windows operating system.NET platform would consist of:

  • The Microsoft .NET Framework which a part of Windows operating systems and requited to run other components of .NET platform
  • Windows Live ID which was previously known as .NET Passport

Similarly, computers run on different operating systems platform.  Names of a few platforms are given below:

§         Microsoft Windows

§         Linux

§         UNIX

§         Solaris

§         Mac OS

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