A short introduction to Browser Extensions

A browser extension is a plug-in that extends the functionality of a web browser in some way. Browser extension are not new technology, they have been around since 1999. The technology became mainstream with the coming of the Google Chrome browser and now all modern browsers support extensions.

What are browser extensions?

As the name suggest, browser extensions are an extension of the Web browser.  The terminology however, maybe different for different browsers; for example you have Chrome Extensions and Firefox Add-ons.

Browser extensions are applications/programs that are run by the browser, inside the browser. So your application executes when the user starts the browser They build customized features on top of the browser that can make a user’s life easy, enable him to do more stuff.

Why have extensions?

A browser in its base form provides only the absolutely necessary features and functionality for surfing the web.Extensions can provide more features on top of the basic browser functionality. These features can make a user’s life easier, enable him to do more stuff. This enables users to install only features they use, and not unnecessarily load the browser with useless (for the user) features.

For example, our Lean Library extension is only usefull for students and researchers who consume academic e-resources. So it's not part of your standard browser, but can easily  be installed on top of your browser.

How to install an extension?

Installing browser extensions is really easy and simple. It varies a little bit per browser but on average it takes less then 1 minute to install an extension. You can try it out by installing our Lean Library browser extension here: