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Desktop Plug-ins    

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Desktop Plug-ins


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Mar
03

Your Windows desktop comes with basic functionality. It has, but it has basic functionality. Microsoft, its creator and maintainer, rolls-out updates from time to time to keep the provided functionality in windows as latest , as in-tune (in sync) with latest technology updates (functionality) as a possible. If the thing (functionality) that you need is not in the base package of windows, then you may get it through plug-ins.

Latest functionality? This means to keep it functional and eligible to work with with latest technologies. So what it is and when to do it and how to do it? Most of the time there are some algorithm improvements that need to be updated both in the client and server. So if they are hardcoded in the App, then you need this. The update for your system and then apply it to your system. Even if they are not hardcoded then you may want to see if you need to update that software. Check if you need to update your Windows System software OR if you need to update your Application software. Or check if it is automatically handled for you via automatic update (called Automatic Updates for Windows Operating system and Updates preferences which can be found in individual Application software installed on your system). So to keep it valid as a possible client you have to update your system. Sometimes you may need your system to become a client for you. This covers the client part of some technology. So it has that ability to do it for you. So that it can do the job for you. All you need to do is get the thing that windows need to get the job done for you through that client.

Some relevant plug-in type(s) and one example of a case that is not plug-in type are as below.

Examples,

One, Plug-ins to extend the functionality of software

There may be some times when you use software and there is additional that you may want to do with it, obviously because it is not included with the base software package. There is a way where some software allows some plug-ins to be plugged-in in to them. Example is when you want to add some additional functionality to already installed software. You may do that if there is a plug-in to add that functionality for you and that is exactly what you need. So you install that plug-in and this way it will work out for you. For example you may install the YArooms plug-in to add the meeting room booking functionality to your Microsoft Office Outlook. Another example is that you install the Hotmail plug-in to access Microsoft Hotmail/Online Outlook email on you Microsoft Office Outlook software.

Two, Compression Utilities

There are algorithm updates that need software to understand them. So you need that functionality if you are working on that kind of file and to get that just install that software. So, Microsoft has provided with-in windows the ZIP compression for files and folders. But there are recent advancements and researches that allow the new designed algorithms to do the compression better. Like, they will compress the file for you to a better extent/degree. But Microsoft has not included them in the Windows base package. The new algorithms may not be there in basic Windows Installation. Probably the reason may be that they count the way of compression OR they count the result of compression i.e. the degree of compression OR they count the rate/speed of compression OR they want Software optimization by consuming less memory and/or less CPU resources. I do not know when they will include it in windows. Still you want to use that compression method. So either you wait till Microsoft Provides you the software to do it. Or install the Tool/Software to do it yourself. This can be done if somebody has made that software to implement that algorithm for you to install and work with it. It will open/decode/decompress the compressed file OR just convert/encode/compress the file for you. This way you get that functionality with-in Windows.

For example, the WinRar Utility allows you to compress files in Rar file format and also in zip and more compression formats.

Three, Encryption Client

Recently I was working on for my client and I came to know that the email was not working on SSL. When I checked that, I found that the client was not able to support the latest SSL update that was rolled out. Thankfully my email provider has updated their server with the latest SSL encryption ability but the client (software tool) that my client (business client) was using did not have the client ability (the required functionality) to work with that server encryption protocol. I will provide the windows update that provides the SSL client functionality update here, but later. So that was just one example. Sometimes, there is some base functionality that windows provide. Sometimes the software brings that functionality with it. So if the software depends on some functionality, then either have windows enabled with that functionality or have the software bring it with it. There may be some software that just brings that functionality and others may use it. And that is what I am trying to write and convey here. They may not be some big conventional software which provide all the functionality but they may be rather they are basic software that just add some functionality to the operating system and are available for other software to use that functionality when needed. For example, the WinPCap, that puts a sniffer on your NIC Adapter and makes it available to Software for use.

Four, (Client) Run-time Environments

.NET Run-time Environment, Java Run-time Environment, Silverlight Client, Shockwave Flash are some examples of client run-time environments that you need on your system for applications coded in these.

Five, for example when you want to play an encoded DVD with Windows Media Player then you might need the correct plug-in to be installed into the system to enable Windows Media Player to do the job for you. You may install the Windows Media Player codec pack to enable Windows Media Player to play various different file options for you. The Windows Media Player Codes can be found on this post here: Media Players and Codecs. Another that you do not need the Real Media Player or any other media player to be installed on the system. So Sorry REAL for me to write that. I am just appreciating my concern that why do not we just use the functionality built-in or have it enhanced with Plug-ins rather than try out and bring-in a whole different software within to the system. Although, it’s the user, you who has the choice and the ability (together with the availability of the software, if it exists) to install anything else, I am just getting you to explore the options.

Six, Software to run some programs OR to provide some additional functionality

Like you know it, the plug-ins provides the functionality, but it is limited… But there are software built to do something. Do real business. Do real software thing. Usually the Windows is considered an Operating System. And a traditional Operating System is just a combination of a kernel + shell. But Windows has bundled some software with it. The Software usually interacts with the shell on behalf of the user to get the job done. It is considered that the user is doing it. Although the software is doing it for that user and the authentication is taken care of by carefully assigning security tokens and tickets to the user by the Security Manager and then carefully validating the assigned tokens and tickets when presented back by the user to the Security Manager to have the user access the resource. That is how (security is managed) and the base of security. And it is managed that ways. We will write more on it later in a separate section and may be another article. To know more about security just please visit: “Security” and “How does Authentication works on Windows?” The software we are talking here are not plug-ins.

So this part is to cover the software that looks like the ones just mentioned above. They run by interacting with the shell which is the same way the software work on Windows. But are limited to just providing some functionality. Software like an FTP Client are some example.

Full-fledged software are like Microsoft Office Suite, A Web Browser, OR Adobe Master Collection.

Seven, Plug-ins

Plug-ins as I said are small pieces of software that extends the functionality. For example, the Bookmarking Tools and utilities that comes for a certain web browser. Another example is a PDF to Word Converter.

Eight, Tools

Tool is not full-fledged software but is still those very efficient pieces of software that does some job for you. There is a difference between a tool and plug-in and full-fledged software. Tools are just used to do some task and mostly to automate some tasks. For example, the File Synchronization Tools that you may find here: “File Synchronization”.

Also, FYI, Microsoft also rolls-out security updates, but what are mentioned above are feature updates.

Windows Desktop Search (WDS for short)

In Windows XP, the search functionality provided by windows operating system was able to search for the provided keyword but was limited to only search with-in file names. With an updated provided that when installed was able to enhance the ability of Windows search to search for the provided keyword both with-in file names and file contents. Also, it was worked on by its engineers good enough to provide speedy search results. It builds an index with in the provided list of folders to speed up the searches. To get this update, here is our link: Windows Desktop Search (WDS for short).



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