Platform vs Environment
Computer platform and computer environment are two terms used in computer science, which are closely related. Therefore, their meanings are almost synonymous in common use, but more explicit definitions show the differences of the terms and their usage. According to Oxford Advanced Learner’s dictionary, a platform is the type of computer system or software that is used, and an environment is the complete structure within which a user, computer or program operates.
More about Computer Platform
A computer platform is a computer software or hardware architecture, which acts as the foundation of the computer system. For example, x86 architecture is the most common platform for desktop computers in the world. IBM AS/400, SunMirosystem (now owned by Oracle) SPARC, Apple, IBM, and Motorola PowerPC, and Intel IA-64 are all examples of computer platforms. Each acts as the foundation for building a computer system, which supports different operating systems and application software at a higher level. Originally, the term Platform was used for hardware architectures, and that use has not been changed over time. However, the use of the word platform has extended into the regime of software because operating systems were designed to support and run on each of the individual architecture, and they are called software platforms. Examples are Sun Solaris and open Solaris for SPARC and UnisysOS for Unisys platforms, mostly used in servers.
Since OS acts as the foundation for other application software, the term platform is used to represent operating systems, such as Linux platform and Windows platform. Each software platform supports its own application software, but isolated software performing an individual task such as a word processor or a web browser is not a platform.
More about Environment
There are many interpretations of the term environment. Comparing with the earlier description of the term platform, both the hardware platform and the operating system taken together, usually called as an environment. The collective configuration of software and hardware is the environment. For example, Windows operating system working on a 32-bit architecture is an environment. So is, Apple’s MacOS working on a 64-bit architecture.
The next major usage of the term environment is to denote a certain type of generic configuration of computers. Such as networking environment, database environment or web services environment, which are computer software and hardware configurations operating on a larger scale. It can be used to express much simpler configurations too; for example, desktop environment, multimedia environment and gaming environment on a personal computer.
An application that offers the developing tools bundled into o single software, which allows the developer to access and use different functions in a single environment is known as an Integrated Development Environment (IDE). Microsoft Visual Studio, Oracle JDeveloper, and WinDev are examples of Integrated Development Environments, in which usually a source code editor, a compiler and a debugger are combined in single software.
What is the difference between Platform and Environment?
• Computer platform is a software or hardware architecture that acts as the foundation of a computer system, while the environment means the collective configuration of both software and hardware of a computer system.
• Furthermore, the term environment is used to describe collective configurations of computers, software or hardware at higher levels, while the platform is restricted to the foundation level structure.