Many question marks

Right now, I have more questions than answers.
I will build around the twentythirteen theme and it is going well but implementing other features and options can be daunting. So far I was able to change the post layout without breaking the theme. This allowed me to widen the theme even more and place the post thumbnail next to the post title instead above it. Which i like better. In my test environment I was also able to create and enable the post excerpt, showing only the first 55 words of a post followed by a “Read more” link below it. The long posts, if many are present require to much scrolling and i believe that an excerpt is plenty for a reader to know if they are interested and want to read on.
I am working now on implementing an image slider and I am kind of torn between the Nivo Slider and the Flex Slider. They both seem almost the same, with only slight differences. I would also like to implement tabs and accordions as well as Google integration. The most difficult part for me right now is making those things optional. Yes, the options framework. Not an easy thing for me to wrap my head around. I have yet to find a good place to see what options are even available, so you are left with only creating your hoping not to collide with any that already exist. I wish there was also more information available on the markup. If you know of a good place, let me know. What I found on WP is very general but I am working my way through it.
Alas, back to the books .. 🙂