The Lovelace UI is a customizable interface. With additional community plugins you can extend the default Lovelace experience.
Any Lovelace Plugin you download with HACS is stored in
www/community/ in your Home Assistant configuration directory.
.js file is downloaded, a compressed
.gz version of it will be created. This file (assuming it exists) will be served to the requester to save transfer size/time.
If you make local changes to a plugin in the
.js file, delete the
.gz variant to have HACS serve up that one.
At the bottom of every page for plugins it will state how you should add it to your Lovelace configuration.
HACS has a custom view/path/endpoint for serving up Lovelace elements (plugins)
/hacsfiles/, this works mostly the same way as
/local but has some extra features.
/hacsfilesendpoint does not cache anything; it will instruct your browser to fetch a new version on each load.
/hacsfilesendpoint will try to serve a .gz variant of the element, this will make the element smaller and the transfer will be faster.
Your plugin exists in
www/community/plugin/plugin.js you can use both
/hacsfiles/plugin/plugin.js to reference it, but only the
hacsfiles version will have the extra features that HACS offers.
.gz example: CCH (Compact Custom Header) is a fairly popular element for Lovelace. When you use
/local you will transfer the
.js file which is 101kB, but if you use HACS and reference the plugin with
/hacsfiles, it will serve the 20kB
.gz version automagically (sizes accurate for version 1.4.7 of CCH).
Every plugin you have installed with HACS will have a "Open source" option on the hamburger menu.
This is useful when troubleshooting; if you can see a code wall (the underlying
.js file) everything is OK, but if you get a 404 try reinstalling it.