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MythPlugins are shared object files (i.e. libraries) which are loaded from a specific directory (e.g. /usr/local/lib/mythtv/plugins). Currently, all plugins are written in the C++ language, but there is nothing preventing other languages being used (the functions are in the C name space).
int mythplugin_init(const char *libversion); is invoked whenever mythfrontend is started. This typically handles upgrading any database records - it will be the first method called after a new version of the plugin has been installed.
int mythplugin_run(); is invoked when the action attribute of a menu item requests it via the PLUGIN directive. This is when the user chooses to enter the plugin from the main menu or the appropriate submenu.
int mythplugin_config(); is invoked when the action attribute of a menu item requests it via the CONFIGPLUGIN directive. This should be when the users wishes to change the plugin's settings (in the main Setup menu).