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What is plug in?

by: Ailene B. Misa | 19 Dec, 2009 06:00:00

Article Word Count: | Viewed: times

Most of the interactive sites contain plug-ins. For you to view that site, you need to have a plug-in player or applet. Most of the web sites will provide a link for you to download a player.

Have you ever wonder what plug-ins is, and why it is being used?

In this article, you will be provided with a brief overview on plug-ins specifically for web browsers. Also, you will know its history, system, frameworks and players.

Let us start by defining plug-ins. From an English dictionary, plug-in was defined as connect or hook-up. In computer dictionary, it was defined as a software program/module that is used to add attribute to the existing system. It is simply adding a new component into the current mechanism. Plug-in is also called add-on, add-in and snap-in. The use of plug-ins started mid 1970s. Here are some example applications that uses plug-ins: Graphic software application uses Adobe Photoshop to support and manage image file format; Microsoft Office applications uses plug-ins to expand it's abilities by adding commands and features; media players uses plug-ins to hold file formats; and web browser uses plug-ins to support video or presentation formats and increase it's functionality.

In this article we will be focusing on plug-in for web applications. So, let us find out more on the plug-ins system.

In web applications or development, the host application supplies services to be used by plug-ins, and for plug-ins to be to register to host application. Most of the Open API (Open Application Programming Interfaces) supply a standard interface that allow other parties to make plug-ins that can interact with the host application, to keep on working as process is being changed, and to expand the existence applications. Most often, web applications use plug-ins to allow publisher to add functionality. Plug-ins is dependent on the services supplied by the host application. On the contrary, the host application works autonomously.

In web browser, plug-ins refers to outside or external components with API or ActiveX to hold new types of multimedia. It is usually used to add function of the original application. In Mozilla, it uses the term "add-on" for the general type of modules that contains plug-ins, themes as well as search engines.

Nowadays, software developer uses different plug-in framework to add capability on their applications. To name some we have: C++, Delphi, Java, Phyton and .NET.

For the end-user to view the plug-ins in a certain site, you might be asked to download plug-in players also called applet. You can download flash player or Java applet. It depends on what the site will require you. Rest assures, it will provide a link where you can download the players. It may take a few minutes, but still downloading progress will depend on the speed of your internet connection.
If you have already downloaded the necessary plug-ins the content will already be played on your screen. To site some interactive site that uses plug-in we have educational sites like Brain Pop and Quia.

If your are using Microsoft Windows, let me give you an insight on how to manage your plug-ins through your browser the Internet explorer. To manage your plug-ins like shockwave, you have to view the entire downloaded program. To do this, go to your drive C:, look for Windows folder, then Downloaded Program folder. In this folder, you can view, update and even remove each plug-in.

If there would be problems with your plug-ins you may contact your respective downloaded players like Sun or Adobe.

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