Thread: Text Expander
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It doesn't work in the background as such, you don't have to have textexpander running in the background to make it work. I'm not a developer so don't know how this link between two programs is executed but from the user side of things it appears that if an application is developed to include textexpander support it can read outside it's own environment and see the shortcuts created in the text expanded application folder.

A few application that I have used that provide textexpander integration are Appigo ToDo, Twitter for iPhone (formally Tweetie 2) and Twittelator Pro. One of the main reasons this would be helpful to me is for phone numbers. I could set up a list of frequently used phone numbers within textexpander then within OF when creating a new event to phone someone all I have to do is type the shortcut that I predefined. This would save a huge deal of time jumping back and forth between OF and the address book app and when I see an event to make a phone call I could initiate it directly from within OF on the iPhone.

That's just one example but there are many more ways in which it would save time.