Software documentation is a distinct specialty within the broader discipline of technical writing. It’s a world with its own rules and jargon. Here’s the fourth set of software industry terms you should be familiar with as a technical writer and communicator…
Driver – The driver is a piece of software thanks to which your computer can use hardware peripheral devices such as printers, scanners, etc.
PCs running Windows OS (Operating System) work with drivers that usually come with the ubiquitous “.dll” (Dynamic Link Library) extension.
If you’re using a Mac, you usually don’t need to download or install a driver. Usually, a Mac automatically recognizes your hardware and knows how to use it and that’s why some people wouldn’t use anything else than a Mac. However, if you need to install a driver for a Mac, it comes as a “.kext” file.
Symbol of the system – There are times when a developer will tell you to “open” your “command prompt” and run an “IP configuration” check to find out the IP address of your machine.
What you’re referring to is the DOS-based text-only black screen interface where you can type various commands and get system information or (if you’re a hardcore programmer) perform any kind of file manipulation and configuration tasks you want.
On this screen, you type a “command” that follows the strict syntax rules of the “DOS Command” language. In return, your computer follows your command, performs the procedure you ask it to perform, and prints a response.
You must study and learn the basic commands of “Command Prompt” before you can use this feature.
A bit of cybernetic history… This is how all file management and system configuration functions were handled before the advent of the graphical interface and the mouse. In those good-old-bad/old days, there was nothing to click on on your computer monitor. Anytime you needed your computer to do something, you would simply enter your command at the “Command Prompt” screen and hit Enter.
Someone said “if the normal graphical interface is like driving a car with an automatic transmission, using the command prompt is like driving a gear stick.” I think that’s a wonderful and very appropriate analogy.