A CDE Definition
Software that plays a supporting role for users and developers. Basic utility programs include file/folder management (copy, move, etc.), file search and compare, disk format and partition, as well as diagnostic routines to check performance and the health of the hardware. See tool.
Utilities that support a development environment can perform myriad tasks. For example, at the end of each update cycle of this encyclopedia, custom-programmed utilities are run that make sure all links to pictures and other definitions are valid.
(1) 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.
(2) 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.
(3) An on-screen function in a graphics program; for example, a line draw, circle draw or brush tool.
(4) A software control panel for setting user preferences. See tools menu.
(5) 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.
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