Addons Default 1.8.3-dev 5181
Addons Default 1.8.3-dev 5181
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In computing, a plug-in (or plugin, add-in, addin, add-on, addon, or extension) is a software component that adds a specific feature to an existing computer program. When a program supports plug-ins, it enables customization. The common examples are the plug-ins used in web browsers to add new features such as search-engines, virus scanners, or the ability to use a new file type such as a new video format. Well-known browser plug-ins include the Adobe Flash Player, the QuickTime Player, and the Java plug-in, which can launch a user-activated Java applet on a web page to its execution on a local Java virtual machine.
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 ProTools.
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 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 use browser extensions to expand their functionality. Examples include Adobe Flash Player, Java SE, QuickTime, Microsoft Silverlight and Unity.
Example Plug-In Framework
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.
Main article: Add-on (Mozilla)
In Mozilla Foundation definitions, the words “add-on”, “extension” and “plug-in” are not synonyms. “Add-on” can refer to anything that extends the functions of a Mozilla application. Extensions comprise a subtype, albeit the most common and the most powerful one. Mozilla applications come with integrated add-on managers that, similar to package managers, install, update and manage extensions. The term, “Plug-in”, however, strictly refers to NPAPI-based web content renderers. Plug-ins are being deprecated.
Plug-ins appeared as early as the mid 1970s, when the EDT text editor running on the Unisys VS/9 operating system using the UNIVAC Series 90 mainframe computers provided the ability to run a program from the editor and