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Difference between application and plugin in Firefox?

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  • Last reply by jscher2000

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This is not a practical question (I'm sorry). I'd just like to understand.

A few years ago, it was necessary to install a plugin in order to playback a video (for instance the VLC-web-plugin). Nowadays, plugins are not necessary. You can just assign an application such as VLC player to a specific file type (In Firefox -> Options -> General -> Applications you can choose which file type is opened with which application). But whats the technical difference between VLC installed on operating system level and VLC as a web-plugin of Firefox? Both are external programs (locally installed) started from within the browser.

I know, that it is the goal of web2.0 to get rid of the plugins, as they are security risks and not user-friendly. However, what is the difference if I can assign an external program to render the file? Is it maybe, that only the plugins such as flash and shockwave can change the html-code on the client side and make the website interactive (and more insecure)?

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..plugins are compiled, loadable modules, originally descended from NPAPI; they can live outside of the browser's process space (which leads to all kinds of fun interoperability issues and vulerabilities). The most common examples of these are Flash and Java - both request a sub-window ("viewport" or "canvas" (not HTML5's canvas - that's something else altogether: a native part of the webpage)) inside the webpage and handle it themselves, in a way that's largely independent of the browser. ..extensions are written mostly in JavaScript and XUL. Since the extensions act as part of the browser, they have wider access privileges than JS-in-a-webpage, but they are still subject to some limitations. The most common way of integration is to hook into some part of FF's functionality and extend it.

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Since Firefox extensions are more integrated into the browser, it is more secure than plug-ins, which aren't a part of the browser and work on the OS level, just as you stated. Extensions tend to have much less security risks compared to plugins because of their integration with the browser. Also, since plug-ins such as Flash are more independent and have less limitations compared to the JS and XML based extensions, they are more vulnerable. Also, since Mozilla has more control of extensions, they can fix most problems and can do it faster compared to plug-ins. Hope that answers your question

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thank you for your answers. I know the difference between extensions and plugins. But my question is not about the difference between a plugin and an extension, but about the difference between a plugin and the integration of external programs through the Firefox -> Options -> General -> Applications path of assigning file formats to external programs (s. attachment).

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Easily play video please follow this link

[https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/install-flash-plugin-view-videos-ani...]


Plugins:
You can install the Adobe Flash plugin for video, audio, online games, and more.


Application: Application is a client-side and server-side software application in which the client runs or request in a web browser. Common web applications include email, online retail sales, online auctions, wikis, instant messaging services and more.

i hope you understand then reply me back.


Thank you!

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The applications I mentioned are not web applications. They are applications locally installed on one's computer such as MS Word, VLC-player, Adobe Reader etc, depending on the local setup. What I found out until now, is that if a file-format embedded in a web page is assigned to a specific application, the application will open that file and it will not be integrated in the web browser. The difference is probably, that a plugin is integrating the content in the web-page. For this, it needs to be compatible with a web-browser-API such as NPAPI. I wonder, whether there are more differences. For instance, with Java-applets, it was possible to pass certain parameters from the HTML-page to the applet.

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Hello....


  • Plugins are compiled, loadable modules, originally descended from NPAPI; they can live outside of the browser's process space (which leads to all kinds of fun interoperability issues and vulerabilities). The most common examples of these are Flash and Java - both request a sub-window ("viewport" or "canvas" (not HTML5's canvas - that's something else altogether: a native part of the webpage)) inside the webpage and handle it themselves, in a way that's largely independent of the browser.
  • Extensions are written mostly in JavaScript and XUL. Since the extensions act as part of the browser, they have wider access privileges than JS-in-a-webpage, but they are still subject to some limitations. The most common way of integration is to hook into some part of FF's functionality and extend it.

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Hi crockcxx, once upon a time it was believed that web browsers and plugins would replace native applications and render operating system competition obsolete. That dream died and we have gone back to a more cooperative relationship between browsers and native applications. I'm sure mobile had a lot to do with that.

Anyway, you are correct that a plugin in a web page can be manipulated by the host site. This probably is why the most powerful plugins needed monthly or semi-monthly security patches to address all the creative ways website could use them to take over your computer. A major impetus for banning plugins (Flash will be the last to go) was security.

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