plug-in

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Related to Plugin: Shockwave Flash, Java plugin

plug-in

[′pləg‚in]
(computer science)
A small software application that extends the capabilities (such as multimedia, audio, or video) of a browser.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

plug-in

(tool)
A file containing data used to alter, enhance, or extend the operation of a parent application program. One of the first uses of this term was in Silicon Beach's SuperPaint application (late 1980s?) for the Macintosh. It had a Plug-ins folder containing different tools and effects.

The Netscape Navigator World-Wide Web browser supports plug-ins which display or interpret a particular file format or protocol such as Shockwave, RealAudio, Adobe Systems, Inc. PDF, Corel CMX (vector graphics). The file to be displayed is included in a web page using an EMBED HTML tag.

Plug-ins, both commercially and indepently authored, can usually be downloaded for free and are stored locally. Plug-ins come in different versions specific to particular operating systems (Microsoft Windows 3.1, 3.2, and Macintosh are available).

Compare applet.

Plug-in Plaza.

PC Mag Plug-ins.
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (foldoc.org)

plug-in

Software that is installed into an existing application in order to enhance its capability. For example, plug-ins are widely used in image editing programs such as Photoshop to add some special effect. "Extensions" are plug-ins added to Web browsers to enhance their capabilities. The plug-in term is widely used for software but can also refer to a hardware module that plugs into a system. The terms "plug-in," "add-on" and "extension" are used synonymously. See plug-in free and browser extension.
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