External library is a type of information storage and retrieval system used primarily for a computer program, such as a software application. It is a collection of software components that include libraries, components, and functions which can be independently compiled and executed to achieve a desired behavior, such as storing data or performing analysis. External libraries are typically defined by an API (application programming interface), and are also known as external links, external cache, and plugin modules.

External libraries are used in computer programming to extend the capabilities of the program or to provide a more user-friendly interface. By writing an external library, the programmer can create additional functionalities which the application can use, instead of reinventing the wheel each time. External libraries are also used by software engineers and developers to improve the performance of their applications by implementing a pre-existing, sometimes more efficient, component.

External libraries offer the programmer with the advantage of accessing programs written by other programmers and using them as part of the main program. This allows the programmer to create complex projects while avoiding the complex development process associated with them. Some popular external libraries include Foundation libraries (C#, Java, Ruby), Open Source libraries (like Java OpenXML), and a variety of third-party libraries (such as graphics and networking libraries).

In the cybersecurity field, external libraries play a critical role in enabling secure coding practices. By using popular, commonly available libraries, developers are able to reduce the chance of introducing new vulnerabilities or creating coding errors. Additionally, external libraries allow developers to leverage community-supported code modules without having to spend time on complex projects. This improves software project quality and helps prevent software development errors.

External libraries are also important for maintaining compatibility between programs and across different operating systems. By using portable libraries, applications can be used across multiple platforms, such as Windows, Linux, and OS X. This is especially useful for software development teams who need to maintain consistent functionality across multiple platforms.

External libraries offer numerous benefits to developers and users alike, including increased performance, portability, and enhanced compatibility. In addition, using external libraries often results in faster development times and cheaper development costs. For these reasons, most software projects utilize external libraries and they even have comprehensive libraries and repositories dedicated to them.

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