The plugin is a software component that adds a specific new feature to an existing software application. The term ‘plugin’ is used to describe both the process of adding plugins to an existing software application and the resulting additional features themselves.
Types of Plugins
Plugins can be added to both commercial and open source applications, and can extend the functionality of the base application in many different ways:
Additional features: A plugin may add its own features to an existing application, such as adding more options or commands to an existing menu system. This type of plugin often extends the core product’s functionality without modifying it, but many plugins do change the original program in some way. For example, a plugin may allow users to view a PDF file within their web browser instead of downloading it.
Modifications: Some plugins modify the original program by changing how it behaves or how it looks. For example, a word processing program might include a plugin that automatically formats citations in academic papers written using Microsoft Word.
Security protection: Some plugins provide additional security protection for users who download them from third-party websites by acting as “shields” against various forms of malicious code that could affect their computers if they were not protected by such shields (such as antivirus or firewall software).