As a theme developer, you have to make a lot of choices when you create a theme. What text should be displayed in certain locations? Will that text always be appropriate? How many posts should you display in a featured item carousel? How many levels should the nested navigation menu have?
Part of being a good developer is knowing when to make these decisions for your theme's users, and when to give the users a choice. Many WordPress users are not comfortable with editing PHP files, so you need to provide some other way for users to make these choices. The best way, in the context of a WordPress theme, is to provide the users with a theme options panel.
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