Completing the primary genomic sequence of Arabidopsis thaliana was a major milestone, being the first plant genome and only the third high-quality finished eukaryotic genome sequence. Understanding how the genome sequence comprehensively encodes developmental programs and environmental responses is the next major challenge for all plant genome projects. This requires fully characterizing the genes, the regulatory sequences, and their functions. We discuss several functional genomics approaches to decode the linear sequence of the reference plant Arabidopsis thaliana, including full-length cDNA collections, microarrays, natural variation, knockout collections, and comparative sequence analysis. Genomics provides the essential tools to speed the work of the traditional molecular geneticist and is now a scientific discipline in its own right.