This article is a survey of the present state of the transfer operator approach to the effective dynamics of metastable complex systems, and the variety of algorithms associated with it. We introduce new methods, and we emphasize both the conceptional foundations and the concrete application to the conformation dynamics of a biomolecular system. The algorithmic aspects are illustrated by means of several examples of various degrees of complexity, culminating in their application to a full-scale molecular dynamics simulation of a B-DNA oligomer.