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9.1 Overview of internet plug-in applications



Unit 9.1 Overview of internet plug-in applications and internet services technologies

image Learning outcomes

At the end of this chapter, you will be able to:

  • describe the different types of internet plug-ins
  • explain the purpose of internet plug-ins
  • describe the different internet services technologies.


Internet services technologies refers to the technologies and programming languages used to develop software and applications for the internet. This can refer specifically to website development and languages like HTML, C++ and JavaScript, but also more generally to any technology used on the internet, from networking technologies to e-commerce and communication technologies.


9.1 Overview of internet plug-in applications

In this unit, you will learn about internet services technologies and their purpose. You will also learn more about web plug-ins and their importance for website development.


A plug-in is an additional functionality that you can install onto an existing application. For example, web browsers allow you to install a plug-in that adds new functions to your web browser.

One of the most popular plug-in was Flash Player. It allowed web browsers to understand interactive web pages and display videos and animations. Flash Player was the default method app used for watching videos.
Other popular plug-in examples include:

  • PDF converters and tools: allows the conversion of web pages to PDF formats in a web browser.
  • Java: allows Java programs to run on the website in a web browser.
  • QuickTime player: allows the streaming of videos watched directly from the web in a web browser, it is developed by Apple Inc.
  • Real-player: allows the streaming of videos watched directly from the web in a web browser.
  • Silverlight: allows for a more interactive experience with web pages and when watching videos in a web browser.

Applications support plug-ins for many reasons, including:

  • being able to reduce the size of an application
  • being able to separate source code from an application because of incompatible software licenses.

The release of a new version of HTML (called HTML5) and improvements in web browsers include some of these functions and may not require some plug-ins. The increase in technology allows plug-ins to serve a different purpose today. They change the behaviour of websites or web browsers to improve user-experience.



Internet services technologies cover a very broad range of technologies that is used for web development, web production, web-design, networking, and e-commerce. These technologies are also part of website maintenance, database management, and graphic design.

These technologies are all used either separately or together to enable a better user web experience or functionality, whether it is for personal or business applications using a web browser as the interface.

image Activity 9.1

9.1.1List three areas that Internet Service Technologies incorporates.

9.1.2Work on your own to answer the following questions.

a.In your own words, explain what a plug-in is.

b.Why were plug-ins previously used?

CONSOLIDATION ACTIVITY Chapter 9: Internet services

This activity will require you to do some of your own research. You can use the internet, speak to your teacher or any other expert you may have access to.

How your computer can be infected


In a perfect world, there would be no way for your computer to be infected via your browser. Browsers are supposed to run web pages in an untrusted sandbox, isolating them from the rest of your computer. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen.

Most people that are compromised through browsers are compromised through their browsers’ plugins. Apple and Facebook recently had internal computers compromised because they accessed websites containing malicious Java applets. Their Java plugins could have been completely up-to-date – it wouldn’t matter, because the latest versions of Java still contain unpatched security vulnerabilities.

Other browser plugins, particularly Adobe’s Flash player and PDF reader plugins, also regularly have to patch security vulnerabilities. Adobe has become better than Oracle at responding to these issues and patching their plugins, but it’s still common to hear about a new Flash vulnerability being exploited.

Plugins are juicy targets. Vulnerabilities in plugins can be exploited across all different browsers with the plugin across all different operating systems – whether you are running Chrome, Firefox, or Internet Explorer on Windows, Linux, or Mac.

1.In your opinion, is using plug-ins worth it? Consider the risks that these have for your computer.

2.What can you do to protect your computer from plug-in vulnerabilities?

3.Do you think hackers can use plug-ins to gain access to your computer and data? Explain.