What Is A Plugin In Computing?
In computing, a plugin is used for different software like browser, word processor, web application, etc in order to provide an extra feature. Plugins can be also named as an add-on, extension which have similar meanings and usage. Generally, plugins are related to web browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Safari, Microsoft Edge, etc.
Plugin or Add-on or Extension
Plugin and Add-on are terms used to describe some extra functionality to existing software. Extensions are similar but generally provides more and very extra functionality to existing software. Mozilla Firefox names Add-on on the other side Google Chrome names Plugin. But in generall plugins, addon and extension are used for the same meaning.
Plugin Purpose and Examples
Plugins provide different purpose to the existing software of applications. Here we will list some of their purposes and examples.
- Enable 3rd party access to read, edit, save, copy
- Adding new features which do not exist in the original software
- More detailed configuration about the software
- Increase the performance of the given software
- Add extra services to the existing software
How do Plugins work?
As an external entity, the plugins need to work with the main software. Plugins need very clear standardized software interfaces in or to work properly. In the following diagram, we can see a simple architecture about the plugin. Plugins are managed by the plugin manager but in order to work use host application services. In order to make plugins work properly, the different version of the application should provide the same services in the same manner.
We all use different plugins in our daily life which creates value for us. There are some plugins which are very popular and known among users. We will list them here which belongs to different software.
- Adobe Flash Player
- Java Run-Time Environment
- Microsoft Silverlight
Google Chrome Plugins
Google Chrome names the plugins as
Extensions in its jargon. We can list available Chrome plugins from the following URL.
Mozilla Firefox Plugins
Mozilla Firefox also calls the plugins as extensions where they can be listed with the following URL.
WordPress is a popular CMS which is used by a lot of people. It also provides a big collection of plugins for different purposes. We can list and search these plugins from the following URL.