Theme frameworks offer a host of features to make your life easier when it comes to building a Web site. Individual frameworks offer many unique features, but also share a common set of features. These common features generally allow for faster and easier development of your WordPress Web site.
Most themes include a functions.php file that contains functions for the theme, but some theme frameworks take this to the next level. They offer customization options using these functions that rival many plugins.
In the Genesis theme, a custom function allows users to create new widget areas. The genesis_register_sidebar() function, which takes care of the heavy lifting for widgetizing a new area, gives you some options to easily customize it. Below is an example of how you might use this function in your theme's functions.php file:
genesis_register_sidebar(array( 'name'=>'My New Widget', 'description' => 'This widget is new.', 'before_title'=>'<h4 class="mywidget">', 'after_title'=>'</h4>' ));
This function allows you to enter a few customizations into the function, such as a name for your widget, a description, and any HTML that you want to appear before and after your widget.
Many standard themes also provide functions that are used in the theme, but theme frameworks offer many additional custom functions that the theme doesn't. The custom functions help you make the theme do exactly what you need for a specific site.
Theme functions can vary ...