While programming, and keeping JTAG programming mode, one development boards wants .jic file, and other demands .pof file to program flash memory. So, where these other programming mode will fit? I mean, as far as the programming modes are concerned, why I was able to program a Max10 device with pof file while in JTAG mode, but had to convert sof file to jic file to program a flash(EPCS64) of Cyclone IV device? Then when will I select AS, PS modes? please somebody clarify.
A .pof programs the flash memory that's built into the MAX10 device through the JTAG interface, while the .jic file is used as a "gateway" design through the Cyclone IV device to program its attached flash. See these online trainings and their links to documentation for details:
sstrell is right. But, from a programming point of view, the AS (Active Serial) is a mode configuration with EPCQ-L. Both PS (Passive Serial) and AS you will need to stored your bitstream to flash so that it is auto program during power up.