The main difference between plugin and library is that a plugin is an extension that improves the capabilities of an application while a library is a collection of classes and functions that helps to develop a software.
A plugin is an add-on for a software program that adds new functionality to it. For example, VST plugin allows adding effects for audio recording and sequencing programs while Photoshop plugin allows adding extra filters to process images, and browser plugin allows playing certain multimedia files within a web browser. On the other hand, a library is a collection of classes, functions etc. that can be used in a program. Moreover, the programmer can use a library in his program without knowing the internal implementation of that library.
Key Areas Covered
What is a Plugin
A plugin is a software that adds additional features to an application. Other names for plugin are add-in, add-on, or extension. When a program supports plugins, it enables customization.
Various applications use plugins for different tasks. Some examples are as follows.
Digital audio workstations – Generate and process sound
Email clients – Encrypt and decrypt emails
Graphic software – Process images
Media players – Support different file formats
Remote sensing applications – Process data obtained from various sensor types
Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) – Improve the development process
Web browsers – Support new file types, scan viruses etc.
Overall, plugins provide a number of advantages. They allow adding new features and reduce the application size. Furthermore, they enable third-party developers to create abilities to extend an application.
What is Library
A library is a set of classes and functions that are used by a computer program. Also, it includes configuration data, help data, documentation, etc. Moreover, a library has a well-defined interface. For example, a library helps to make system calls without implementing them again and again. The method of invoking a library depends on the programming language. For example, C program invokes a library by a normal function call. The programmer does not need to know the internal details of the library.
Besides, there are two types of libraries as static libraries and dynamic libraries. A program access a static library during the build process. A program access a dynamic library at runtime. Most programming languages provide their own standard library for the programmers to use them in their programs. Also, they provide libraries that implement the majority of the system services. Additionally, the programmer can create his own custom libraries.
Difference Between Plugin and Library
A plugin is a software component that adds a specific feature to an existing computer program. A library is a collection of nonvolatile resources used by computer programs in a software development process. Thus, this is the fundamental difference between plugin and library.
Moreover, plugins help to add new features, reduce applications and enable third-party developers to extend the application. In contrast, libraries help in developing software applications efficiently and improving code reusability. Hence, this is another difference between plugin and library.
The basic difference between plugin and library is that a plugin is an extension that improves the capabilities of an application while a library is a collection of classes and functions that helps to develop a software.
1. “Plug-in (Computing).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 27 Aug. 2018, Available here.
2. “Library (Computing).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 20 Oct. 2018, Available here.
3. “Plug-In.” Plug-in Definition, Techterms, Available here.
1. “TV-Browser Preferences Plugins ContextMenu Internet” By Martin Oberhauser, Til Schneider, Bodo Tasche, René Mach, Michael Keppler unter der GNU General Public License. – (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia