Bookmark.icon

Plugin

Third-party software created to add a new feature to an application, such as Premiere or After Effects.

In computing, a plug-in (or plugin, add-in, addin, add-on, or addon) is a software component that adds a specific feature to an existing computer program. When a program supports plug-ins, it enables customization.

Web browsers have historically allowed executables as plug-ins, though they are now mostly deprecated, which are a different type of software module than browser extensions. Two plug-in examples are the Adobe Flash Player for playing Adobe Flash content and a Java virtual machine for running applets.

A theme or skin is a preset package containing additional or changed graphical appearance details, achieved by the use of a graphical user interface (GUI) that can be applied to specific software and websites to suit the purpose, topic, or tastes of different users to customize the look and feel of a piece of computer software or an operating system front-end GUI (and window managers).

Applications support plug-ins for many reasons. Some of the main reasons include:

  • to enable third-party developers to create abilities which extend an application
  • to support easily adding new features
  • to reduce the size of an application
  • to separate source code from an application because of incompatible software licenses.

Types of applications and why they use plug-ins:

  • Audio editors use plug-ins to generate, process or analyze sound. Ardour and Audacity are examples of such editors.
  • Digital audio workstations (DAWs) use plug-ins to generate sound or process it. Examples include Logic Pro X and Pro Tools.
  • Email clients use plug-ins to decrypt and encrypt email. Pretty Good Privacy is an example of such plug-ins.
  • Video game console emulators often use plug-ins to modularize the separate subsystems of the devices they seek to emulate. For example, the PCSX2 emulator makes use of video, audio, optical, etc. plug-ins for those respective components of the PlayStation 2.
  • Graphics software use plug-ins to support file formats and process images. (c.f. Photoshop plugin)
  • Media players use plug-ins to support file formats and apply filters. foobar2000, GStreamer, Quintessential, VST, Winamp, XMMS are examples of such media players.
  • Packet sniffers use plug-ins to decode packet formats. OmniPeek is an example of such packet sniffers.
  • Remote sensing applications use plug-ins to process data from different sensor types; e.g., Opticks.
  • Text editors and Integrated development environments use plug-ins to support programming languages or enhance the development process e.g., Visual Studio, RAD Studio, Eclipse, IntelliJ IDEA, jEdit, and MonoDevelop support plug-ins. Visual Studio itself can be plugged into other applications via Visual Studio Tools for Office and Visual Studio Tools for Applications.
  • Web browsers have historically used executables as plug-ins, though they are now mostly deprecated. Examples include Adobe Flash Player, Java SE, QuickTime, Microsoft Silverlight, and Unity. (Contrast this with browser extensions, which are a separate type of installable module still widely in use.)

Mechanism

The host application provides services which the plug-in can use, including a way for plug-ins to register themselves with the host application and a protocol for the exchange of data with plug-ins. Plug-ins depend on the services provided by the host application and do not usually work by themselves. Conversely, the host application operates independently of the plug-ins, making it possible for end-users to add and update plug-ins dynamically without needing to make changes to the host application.

Programmers typically implement plug-in functionality using shared libraries, which get dynamically loaded at run time, installed in a place prescribed by the host application. HyperCard supported a similar facility, but more commonly included the plug-in code in the HyperCard documents (called stacks) themselves. Thus the HyperCard stack became a self-contained application in its own right, distributable as a single entity that end-users could run without the need for additional installation-steps. Programs may also implement plugins by loading a directory of simple script files written in a scripting language like Python or Lua.

Key Terms

adobe flash player
application
applications
examples
executables plug
host application
plug
process
use
web browsers

Additional Resources

No ressources found.

Acronymn

(none found)

Synonymns

Plugin
Add-on

Comments

No comment found.

Sources & Credits

Last modified on December 14 2019
Content adapted from Wikipedia
No credits found.
Videocide.com is service provided by Codecide, a company located in Chicago, IL USA.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram
Malcare WordPress Security