What is Plug-in?

A smaller app that adds features to some other larger app. The word "plug-in" refers to a smaller app integrated or connected to a larger app. You can add new functionality to your app by using a plug-in. Add-ons are a group of software components that are a part of plug-ins. Different add-ons can alter programs in different ways, using plug-ins in popular technologies like Internet browsers and audio/video applications make products more versatile. It allows transparent and convenient customization following the desired features of the user. Additionally, plug-ins can make it easier for project partners to perform software upgrades, patches, and enhancements.

Complex software licensing can be handled via plug-ins. There is an official page for each web browser where plug-ins can be downloaded and installed (also called "add-ons" or "extensions"). It is the responsibility of the web browser’s publisher to ensure that any plug-ins it makes available for download are safe to use. According to the Microsoft Manual of Style, "plug-in" (with a hyphen) is the correct way to spell this word. However, the non-hyphenated variant of the word "plugin" is the most generally used by individuals and businesses alike. Plug-ins are dependent on the host application’s services and are rarely self-contained units of work. End users can dynamically add and update plug-ins without altering the host application because the host application functions independently of the plug-ins.

Programmers often implement plug-ins as dynamically loaded shared libraries. Instead of having a separate plug-in code, HyperCard documents (referred to as stacks) contain the plug-in code, as a result, the HyperCard stack became a stand-alone application that end-users could distribute and use without the need for extra setup. Another way for programs to use plugins is to load an executable that executes a directory containing Python or Lua scripts. Applications may include plug-ins to allow third-party developers to extend an application, facilitate adding new features quickly, minimize the size of an application by not loading unnecessary features, separate source code from an application due to incompatible software licenses.

Plug-ins have the advantage of allowing you to easily add new features to programs and apps without considerably expanding the size of the host software. The plug-in receives the new feature code. A full application reverts to its default settings when a plug-in is removed. It also allows other parties to extend an existing application without changing the source code directly.

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