A shim is a library that brings a new API to an older environment, using only the means of that environment. It isn’t necessarily restricted to a web application. For example, es5-shim.js is used to emulate ES5 features on older browsers (mainly pre IE9). Whereas polyfill is a piece of code (or plugin) that provides the technology that you, the developer, expect the browser to provide natively. In a simple sentence, A polyfill is a shim for a browser API.
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