Plugins expand programs with additional functions

Programs can be extended with many functions with the help of plugins, add-ons or add-ins. Simply put: a plugin is a supplemental program that connects to another computer program and extends it. This means that a plugin is stand-alone software that contains functions and can provide invoices and operations, which can be done via an interface. The idea behind plugins is that the main program does not have a full range of functions from the onset. Thanks to this streamlining, the program can be downloaded better and faster, work without a problem and even take up less space. Programs are used by different users for different things, and for this reason everyone will use different plugins to adapt the program to their own personal standards. Examples of plugins include software synthesizers and effects in sequencer programs, which enrich the sequencer with new sounds and sound or graphic effects, and format extensions in image editing software. There are also browser plugins that make it possible for the browser to work with new formats.

Plugins are video players, PDF readers or software synthesizers

The main application area of plugins are programs that display various types of files. The most well-known example of plugins in the online area is plugins for your browser. Depending on use, the browser must be able to display or play documents, videos, music or Flash. If a popular plugin requires a new type of file the first time you open it, the browser can indicate it and it can then be installed with a click. Other plugins may need to be installed manually. Well-known browser plugins include Adobe Reader for PDF documents, Adobe Flash Player for Flash animations, Sun Java SE Runtime Environment for Java applications or the Adobe Shockwave Player. There are browser plugins to play certain types of media for the most well known players such as Real Player, Windows Media Player or Quicktime Player.

Plugins work on a similar principle for other types of programs. Depending on the use intended, you will add the required plugins necessary – such as image view programs, media players or programs to edit audio, photo or video files. In addition to plugins to display specific types of files, plugins can also be used for other types of program optics, or advanced language and character display. Plugins have their own libraries and can be added in the form of a DLL file of the host application.

You can find more information on plugins on Wikipedia: