A program used for software development or system maintenance. Virtually any program or utility that helps programmers or users develop applications or maintain their computers can be called a tool. Examples of programming tools are compilers, interpreters, assemblers, 4GLs, editors, debuggers and application generators. See toolkit. A program that helps the user analyze or search for data. For example, query and report programs are often called query tools and report tools. An on-screen function in a graphics program; for example, a line draw, circle draw or brush tool. A software control panel for setting user preferences. See Tools menu. Sometimes, people will call any software a "tool." For example, the phrase, "there aren't any tools to do that job" means that no application is available to perform the required processing. In computers, a utility is a small program that provides an addition to the capabilities provided by the operating system. In some usages, a utility is a special and nonessential part of the operating system. The print "utility" that comes with the operating system is an example. It's not absolutely required to run programs and, if it didn't come with the operating system, you could perhaps add it. In other usages, a utility is an application that is very specialized and relatively limited in capability. A good example is a search-and-replace utility. Some operating systems provide a limited capability to do a search-and-replace for given character strings. You can add a much more capable search-and-replace utility that runs as an application program. However, compared to a word processor, a search-and-replace utility has limited capability.
|Specifications Tool & Utilities|