What is the differnce between Browser Add-Ons, Extensions, plugins and themes?

Posted on 2015-02-12
Last Modified: 2015-02-12
I checked a number of sites already I would really like to know the differences between each of these if there is a proper definition for each of these objects and what distinguishes each.
Question by:Robert Silver
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Expert Comment

by:Jason C. Levine
ID: 40606163
What have you found at this point?

Easier for you to tell us what your current understanding is and we can confirm or correct.

Accepted Solution

Compton Oliver earned 500 total points
ID: 40606164
Add-Ons: The same as extensions in most cases

Extensions: Programs that run inside of the browser to customize you experience

plugins: Java Programs that run on sites independently

themes: Backgrounds and color schemes that run inside the browser to give it a custom look and feel.
LVL 70

Expert Comment

by:Jason C. Levine
ID: 40606191
Mostly correct.  Add-ons, extensions, and plugins can all refer to the same addition to the browser that makes it do something beyond its basic capacities.  The difference in the naming is mainly browsers differentiating themselves from each other.  "Plugins" can also refer to a program that is installed on demand in order to access content embedded in a specific language or format.  Flash and Java are the two most common "browser plugins" when plugin is used in this context.

The one big error in the above is the assuming that a plugin = java.  It does not, can be any executable designed to run in the browser. As mentioned already, Flash and Java are the big ones but we used to have SGML plugins, QuickTime plugins, and more.

Your definition of theme describes what it does.  What it IS is a collection of settings and images wrapped in a configuration script that changes the browser appearance.
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Expert Comment

by:Compton Oliver
ID: 40606200
You are correct, but it is unlikely that he will ever run into an executable plugin that is not java based on the web.
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Expert Comment

by:Jason C. Levine
ID: 40606212
I know, but if this is a for school assignment then better to be complete at the expense of practicality.
LVL 80

Expert Comment

by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
ID: 40606265
plugins include:
Adobe Reader,Adobe Flash PlayerShockwave Flash 16.0,QuickTime Plug-in,Silverlight Plug-In,IE Tab Plug-in (v.,iTunes Application Detector,VLC Web Plugin (v.,Microsoft Office 2013 ,LogMeIn Rescue Technician Console,AdobeAAMDetect (v.,AdobeExManDetect (v.,Microsoft Lync Web App,Microsoft Download Manager, VMware Remote Console,LastPass Plugin,Google Update and more

Author Closing Comment

by:Robert Silver
ID: 40606883
Thank you can I assume that Themes are basically applied stylesheets?  .css files with properties known to Firefox?
Where can I get a sample Theme add-on then???
LVL 80

Expert Comment

by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
ID: 40606913
no themes are how your browser looks to you
theme 1default theme
Websites can also have themes
sp theme 1sp theme 2

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