So what exactly is this plug-in registry that the host application checks? In simple terms, it's a list of all the plug-in modules that have been found and loaded together with the main application. This list usually contains the object instances, their capabilities, and the functions that implement these capabilities. The registry is a central location to store all plug-in instances, so that the host application can find them during runtime.
The plug-in registry is created during the plug-in discovery process. The discovery process varies between the different implementations, but usually involves finding the appropriate application files and loading them into memory. Typically, there is a separate process within the host application that deals with the plug-in management tasks, such as the discovery, registration, and control. Figure 6-1 shows an overview of all the components and their relationships.
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