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A Small but significant Software Program named “Plug-in"

31st May 2010

By Global Assocaites SketchUp Team

You can easily rely on Plug-in, a small software computer program, for the betterment of your model or project. It is also called as plug-in, add- in, addin, addon, add-on, snap-in or snapin. And “Plug-ins” is just plural of “Plug-in”. From these names we can idealize a concept about its application & significance. Plug-in is a software component that adds features to another application. In brief, this component plugs into the application. For example, some web pages can only be displayed in a browser that has particular plug-in.


Plug-in’s great effect on I.T: Plug-in appeared as early as the mid 1970s. It helps the user to work with the most advanced applications hosted by the respective websites. The usage of plug-in has revolutionized the technological advancement in the field of information technology.

Helping hand of software developers: Plug-in basically extends the capability of a larger program or maintains the overall effect of a program. Software developers can use the following plug-in frameworks to add plug-in capability to their application: C++, Delphi, Java, Python etc.

Various Plug-in used in different purposes: There are different types of plug-ins which are used in different purposes as:

The Integrated Environmental Solutions VE SketchUp plug-in (IES VE SketchUp Plug-in) allows you to assign important sustainable design information like location, building type, room type, construction types and HVAC systems to a SketchUp model and then import it directly into an IES tool for analysis, without having to re-build any geometry.

Open Studio is a free plug-in for the Google SketchUp 3D drawing program. Plug-in makes it easy to create and edit the building geometry in your EnergyPlus input files. The plug-in also allows you to launch EnergyPlus simulations and view the results without leaving SketchUp.

This plug-in almost allows you to mix EnergyPlus simulation content with decorative content such as background images, landscaping, people, and architectural finish details—all within the same SketchUp model.

IRender nXt is a new, fully integrated plug-in for Google SketchUp to create photo realistic renderings & animations directly from your SketchUp model. It defines lights, materials, reflection & other properties in the SketchUp model.

How different features of SketchUp plug-in is useful

♦ 3D Paint Brush is exciting 3D software that provides photo-realistic rendering quality for your 3D assets; it adds background & environment; adjusts light settings; it also helps scale/ copy/ paste/ move/ show/ delete the parts of the 3D model.
♦ Arc Gis Explorer is a free downloadable application that offers an easy way to access online GIS content & capabilities. And this plug-in enables Arc GIS professionals to create & visualize highly-detailed 3D models based on their GIS data.
♦ e-drawing publisher is an add-on to SketchUp that allows designers to export their models to e-drawings format. e-drawings models can be placed into an executable containing the viewer & the design data so that the recipients do not need to install or purchase any software to view the model.
♦ Hypercosm Teleporter for SketchUp keeps design unchangeable.

There are many other features like Artlantis for SketchUp, Render Plus system, ProjectSketch, SU Animated etc which provide a certain, usually very specific function ‘on demand’.

Some specific functions of Plug-in:

♦ Email clients use plug-ins to decrypt and encrypt email (Pretty Good Privacy) or to send oversized email attachments (Globalscape Mail Express).
♦ Graphics software use plug-ins to support file formats and process images (Adobe Photoshop)
♦ Media players use plug-ins to support file formats and apply filters (foobar2000, GStreamer, Quintessential, VST, Winamp, XMMS)
♦ Microsoft Office uses plug-ins (better known as add-ins) to extend the capabilities of its application by adding custom commands and specialized features.
♦ Packet sniffers use plug-ins to decode packet formats (OmniPeek)
♦ Remote sensing applications use plug-ins to process data from different sensor types (Opticks)
♦ Rockbox, a firmware for digital audio players, can use plug-ins, for example: play games, use the text editor
♦ Software development environments use plug-ins to support programming languages (Eclipse, jEdit, MonoDevelop)
♦ Web browsers use plug-ins to play video and presentation formats (Flash, QuickTime, Microsoft Silverlight, 3DMLW)
♦ Some digital mixing consoles allow plug-ins to extend features such as reverberation effects, equalization and compression.
♦ Some Web content management systems use plug-ins to increase functionality.


This article describes what the Plug-in actually is & how its application is profitable for the betterment of your model or project. It is basically a small software computer program that adds features to another application. Its different features & some specific functions are very useful for technological advancement also.

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