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Thread: Clarification on just what a plug in is

  1. #1
    Triple Platinum Member wumply's Avatar
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    Clarification on just what a plug in is

    I found this definition of "plug in" on the net.

    A plug in is "hardware or software module that addresses a specific feature or service to a larger system."

    OK, that's pretty clear. But I don't understand this: Does a plug in have to have its own program on your computer to plug into or can the "larger system" just be some part of your O/S? For example, Sometimes I have clicked on a video file on the net and I get told I need Quicktime to play it. So I get the free Quicktime whatever it is and I can then see the video. I'd never had any Quicktime stuff before. So is the Quicktime file just plugging into my operating system or what? I mean why is it a plug in instead of just another program I download?

    And also do plug ins only come from some net site or do they sometimes also come built into a program you download...but not activated until you "plug them in"?

    Or put it this way are some plug ins independent programs as well?

  2. #2
    Friendly Neighborhood Super Moderator phishhead's Avatar
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    well the term plugin is used pretty loosely. Youre right though wumply a plugin is a seperate program that works by itself or inconjuction with another app. Like quicktime, realplayer are plugins for your browser, but you can use them independently also.



  3. #3
    Triple Platinum Member wumply's Avatar
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    OK. Now take all those things or units (whatever you call them) in Adobe Reader that can be deactivated so that Adobe Reader will load much, much faster. Could they correctly be called 'plug ins' or not? Or again, is that dependent on whether or not one uses 'plug in' loosely?

  4. #4
    Friendly Neighborhood Super Moderator phishhead's Avatar
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    adobe reader is also considered a plugin for pdf support thru your browser but once again can be used as a stand alone program.



  5. #5
    Triple Platinum Member wumply's Avatar
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    I think maybe I was not clear with my question about those "things or units" as I named them (I don't know exactly what to call them) in Adobe Reader that causes it to take so long to load but when removed or inactivated allow Adobe Reader to load fast fast. Do you thinkthey would be considered plug ins or--since they are inherently parts of Adobe Reader--they would not be plug-ins?

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