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helper application

An application that adds additional capabilities when necessary. For example, a helper application for a Web browser is a stand-alone program that is launched when the browser determines its functions are required. Helper applications can run by themselves, whereas browser plug-ins cannot. See browser plug-in.



browser plug-in

Software that adds functionality to a Web browser. Typically from a third party rather than the browser developer and also called "add-ons" or "extensions," they are used to add toolbars and support a variety of graphics, animation, audio and video formats. For example, the Flash plug-in lets users watch countless videos on the Web in the Flash video format. The terms "browser plug-in" and "helper application" are sometimes used synonymously; however, the plug-in is designed for and entirely integrated into the browser and cannot run by itself. A helper application is a separate program launched by the browser when needed. See helper application, plug-in, extension and plug-in free.



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