Understanding the plugin concept

Understanding the plugin concept

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Plugins are the bedrock for any thriving open-source ecosystem that allows developers to extend the platform's core functionality.

Look around, and you'll find that nearly all platforms and frameworks have plugins, although some might call them modules, extensions, etc.

In this article — we will explore the basic concepts of plugins and why they exist.

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So, what are plugins?

Plugins are wonderful, agnostic, isolated pieces of code that can work independently or harmonize with other plugins. When you add a plugin — it should extend what the platform or framework is capable of doing.

Why create a plugin?

A great use case for creating a plugin is if you've identified a need for the same functionality across any project. You'll usually identify this after you're done with a project, as a retrospect, and find that you've created several useful bits of functionality that could be packaged up into a plugin.

The same reason you would create a CSS class, a function, or even a React component — if you find yourself needing to reuse the same bit of functionality, then chances are you've got a strong case for creating a plugin.


Keep reading

This is a series that will teach you how to build a plugin from scratch.

We will get out hands dirty, and by the end of this series, you should be able to take an idea that you have and turn it into a plugin yourself!

Scroll down to find the other articles in this series.

Interested in reading more such articles from Chris Miller?

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