Many commercial applications allow third-party developers to add new and/or enhanced functionality to them through modules called "add-ins" or "plug-ins." Since these modules are not standalone applications, and instead they are loaded by the vendor's application, they often present some unique challenges and options for licensing.
The way add-ins or plug-ins (we'll use plug-ins from here on) work can change based on the hosting application that is loading them. The application will typically have its own unique hooks for plug-ins to use for interacting with the application as well. Consequently, the application's vendor will likely have documentation available that you should refer to for information on how plug-ins work and best practices with regards to plug-in development.
Licensing Web Applications?
If you are developing one or more plug-ins for a web application, then we recommend you also read this related article on licensing web applications, as that is also applicable.
In most cases, the application is a Desktop application that "hosts" the plug-in, and the plug-in itself is either a Dynamic Link Library (DLL) or a .NET assembly that is loaded by the host application. There are two common ways these types of applications use plug-ins during run-time.
Each approach has its own advantages and disadvantages, which often require some further plug-in design considerations with regard to performance and security.
Here are some points we can share from our own experiences with licensed plug-ins:
There are always many things to consider with regard to licensing applications, and licensing plug-ins for other applications only adds to that list. If you’re currently using or considering using the SoftwareKey System, and you have questions about licensing a plug-in with it, our team is just a click or a call away.
Abram Pousada is one of the passionate Software Engineers with SoftwareKey.com. He started his career with SoftwareKey.com when he was in high-school and has been with the company for over a decade. After-hours, the self-proclaimed geek enjoys a variety of engaging hobbies ranging from even more programming to video games and mountain biking.
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