The selection of washing programmes will vary, but standard functions tend to be similar.
Main wash: a standard wash function for cleaning a full load.
Rinse only: a hot water rinse-through will prepare a load for its main wash. Rinsing removes food that could cause unpleasant smells if left to fester.
Economy: a cooler wash that uses less energy than a hot water wash.
Glass wash/delicates: premier models may have this function for delicate glass and china.
Half load: useful if you only stack your machine to half its capacity. This uses less energy than a full load wash so makes it more efficient if the machine is not full.
Dry: all dishwashers have a drying facility so crockery and cutlery is ready to be put away immediately after a cycle has finished. It's best to allow the contents to cool before handling, as the drying function can leave materials too hot to touch.
Timer delay: a useful feature that allows the start of the programme to be delayed. Handy for saving money as you can run your machine using a cheaper night time tariff such as Economy 7. For models that don't have a timer delay, an ordinary timer plug will achieve the same result.