Good News: WordPress 4.7 Supports Post Type Templates
Every user of a "real" CMS knows that it requires a lot of flexibility in displaying different content and that a stiff content corset is unacceptable. WordPress has opened up to this idea, and its version 4.7 finally brings support for post type templates.
Custom Post Types vs. Post Type Templates?
The support for post type templates means that, in the future, theme developers will be able to deliver as many templates as they wish for as many post types as they want to. This is not to be confused with the support for custom post types, which has been around for a while already. Custom post types can be designed as desired as well, but only once per post type.
Post type templates add tremendous flexibility to the look of the post types, without forcing the developer to create a vast number of different custom post types. The functionality matches that of the page templates, which were available from WordPress' beginning. You always had the option to choose a corresponding template when creating a page, and this will be the same for every single future post as well.
Thus custom post types and post type templates complement each other in an ideal way, making sure that less unpleasant workarounds are necessary to create unique designs.
Post Type Templates: What Could I Use This For?
Those that are using their WordPress for blogging solely might not have an idea as to what this is supposed to be useful for. In fact, an individual blogger should already not have missed anything, especially since custom post types.
Imagine you were involved in a team project, or you were running a commercial WordPress page. Here at Noupe, for example, I could see myself using post type templates to display sponsored posts in a different way than regular ones. Guest posts could also be designed differently to emphasize their character. For sponsored posts, you could remove additional advertisements. Before, (with standard tools) all of this was only possible by bending the functionality of custom post types (or using plugins, or interfering with the PHP).
When thinking about client pages, templates, in conjunction with proper training, are a good way to guide contributors in customer businesses regarding design, thus avoiding the worst possible visual calamities. Comic Sans, we salute you.
When working with landing pages for different, yet similar products, you'll also be happy with post type templates, as they provide the option to present your portfolio as differently as you find appropriate.
Post type templates are a welcome addition to the options regarding theme design, and soon enough, we won't be able to imagine not having them. In the future, the quality of new themes will also be measured by the extent to which post type templates are delivered, and how smoothly they are designed to integrate with the overall look and feel.
Also, check out these best WordPress alternatives for 2019.