Can an add-on for a browser, a plugin for a text processing (like Word) or a content unit for a software (like an Anki deck) be called an app without misunderstanding?

The definition of an app is a self-contained program or piece of software designed to fulfill a particular purpose; an application, especially as downloaded by a user to a mobile device (Oxford). So according to this definition, as long as the piece of software is designed to fulfill a particular purpose, then it is an app, right? Am I considered to be misleading if I mention them as an app? And does writing this kind of "app" make you a programmer, or developer?

I think they are big words, and I don't want to misleading people, but I need to explain to non-geeks know what I am doing.

  • Add-ons and plug-ins are not apps. The app is the thing your add-on or plug-in plugs into. Many people consider developer and programmer to be interchangeable. If I were to draw a distinction, a programmer just creates code from someone else’s design while a developer creates the design first then codes it. Or maybe that’s the difference between a developer/programmer and a coder. It all depends on the names and job functions your particular company uses.
    – Jim
    Jul 5, 2016 at 5:23
  • IT here. app is different from an add-on. It (add-on) cannot be considered as an app. Jul 5, 2016 at 5:28
  • so in general, what is one word for this? Extension? Could a content unit like an Anki deck be called as an extension?
    – Ooker
    Jul 5, 2016 at 5:32
  • app is a short term for "application program" and details about application program can be found here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Application_software Jul 5, 2016 at 5:33
  • 1
    by the way, depending on how a program works, it can be considered as an app, an add-on or even both. it can also be considered as a simple program. Programs, as we know, is a set of instructions that a computer executes. Jul 5, 2016 at 5:40

1 Answer 1


link to my Chrome browser's add-ons

I'm a mobile app developer. Here's the default link to my Chrome browser's add-ons. They call them apps too.

This may cause confusion to some users whose only exposure to the word 'app' has been through the use of a mobile device and the 'app stores'.

To avoid confusion just say what type of apps they are - Browser apps, Anki apps, Word apps, whenever you're describing them or what you do.

As for the distinction between programmer/developer, I don't see one and I use the terms interchangeably.

  • What's the difference between an app and a program?
    – tchrist
    Jul 8, 2016 at 4:56
  • 1
    @tchrist about 20 years and some marketing sparkle
    – ED-209
    Jul 8, 2016 at 8:59

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