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- Macromedia flash (quickly becoming one of most popular formats) - Adobe Acrobat Reader (now standard for web document publication) - Quicktime (a video format) - Shockwave (another popular plug-in - Real Player (a very compressed video and audio format)
There are hundreds (and perhaps thousands) of other plug-ins and ActiveX controls available for your browser.
Web Site Design Notes
Okay, this is all fine and dandy, but do you really need or want plug-ins on your web site? Well, that's up to you. Some of reasons for including plug-ins are:
- You can make your web site more interesting and different.
- Plug-ins can be fun to use
- You can add things to your web site that cannot otherwise be added
Why wouldn't you want to include plug-ins?
- They tend to scare away visitors who don't know what they are
- Your pages become unattractive or non-functional if your visitors do not choose to download and install plug-in
- If provider of plug-in ceases business operations, then you may be stuck with a website that you cannot maintain or improve
- Plug-ins are often frowned upon because they add a security risk to your visitors systems, they require long downloads (and sometimes reboots for installation), and they can make systems unstable.
- Your site sometimes inherits reputation of plug-in. For example, many people consider Comet Cursors to be spyware and very intrusive (as well as obnoxious and unnecessary) and will not visit your site if you've got those on your pages. Thus, you site may be considered "bad" even though it might be excellent.
In generally, Flash, Shockwave, Acrobat, and Real player are pretty safe bets. If you want to improve your site with plug-ins, these will do well.
Here's strange thing about plug-ins (as well as ActiveX controls) - they require you (the surfer) to make a decision: do you or don't you trust source of this software?
Personally, I have learned through long and hard experience a golden rule of owning or using a personal computer:
The less you install on your computer system, more stable your computer will be.
You see, plug-ins, especially ActiveX Controls, tend to install things into your system - things over which you have no control. Worse yet, plug-ins need to be updated - which means a formerly safe plug-in may become unsafe due to sloppy coding practices or other problems.
My advice is very simple. I have installed major plug-ins: Acrobat, Flash, Shockwave and Real Player. These are made by large companies and have established track records for safety and value. There are a few other plug-ins which are reasonably safe: Crescendo comes to mind. I would use extreme caution when installing other plug-ins and especially ActiveX controls. If you don't know, and I mean know without a shadow of a doubt, that thing is safe, then don't install it. If you do decide to install something, make sure you've got a good backup of your system and data.
Richard Lowe Jr. is the webmaster of Internet Tips And Secrets. This website includes over 1,000 free articles to improve your internet profits, enjoyment and knowledge. Web Site Address: http://www.internet-tips.net Weekly newsletter: http://www.internet-tips.net/joinlist.htm Daily Tips: mailto:internet-tips@GetResponse.com