VST plugins allow you to have unlimited variety in your sonic palette. They are little computer programs that run inside of a bigger music program like Cubase, Protools, or Ableton Live.
Envelope adjustment tricks are applicable to thousands of other effects like filters, flanges, distortion, and phasers.
It is safe to say that all dance tracks use lots of compression. House music is especially infamous for its over-the-top compression. But, there is a fine line between tasteful and unbearable.