In computing, a plugin (or plug-in, add-in, addin, add-on, addon, or extension) is a software component that adds a specific feature to an existing computer program. When a program supports plug-ins, it enables customization.
Applications support plugins for many reasons. Some of the main reasons include:
to enable third-party developers to create abilities which extend an application
to support easily adding new features
to reduce the size of an application
to separate source code from an application because of incompatible software licenses.
WordPress’ plugin architecture allows users to extend the features and functionality of a website or blog. As of March 2017, WordPress has over 55,286 plugins available, each of which offers custom functions and features enabling users to tailor their sites to their specific needs. These customizations range from search engine optimization, to client portals used to display private information to logged in users, to content management systems, to content displaying features, such as the addition of widgets and navigation bars. Not all available plugins are always abreast with the upgrades and as a result they may not function properly or may not function at all. Most plugins are available through WordPress themselves, either via downloading them and installing the files manually via FTP or through the WordPress dashboard. However, many third parties offer plugins through their own websites, many of which are paid packages.
Web developers who wish to develop plugins need to learn WordPress’ hook system which consists of over 300 hooks divided into two categories: action hooks and filter hooks.
Get ready! Something really cool is coming!