When Posts Are Not Enough
WordPress core supports custom fields and custom post types, but there is no admin UI for managing them and they are not output for display automatically. Typically you would need to create PHP theme templates in order to display them on the frontend.
Toolset is a suite of plugins that provide the missing pieces — the UI for creating and managing the custom content as well as the output of that content on the frontend. Toolset has been around for a while now, has many advanced features, and for a long time has been the “go-to” solution for managing and display of Custom Post Types. Within the last year, the Beaver Builder team released a new product, Beaver Themer. While much simpler than Toolset, Beaver Themer also provides a missing piece in the custom content matrix, namely the ability to create the display template for custom content without PHP coding.
I’ve been a Toolset fan but was encouraged to give Beaver Themer a try. I recorded a video, Beaver Themer vs Toolset, where I stepped through the process of creating a single and archive template for a “Books” Custom Post Type. The video is just over 30 minutes. In the first half, I use Beaver Themer and in the second half Toolset. Watch the video to get a feel for the process with each product.
My conclusions are:
- The process is similar with both Themer and Toolset. You insert the fields as shortcodes in an editor window.
- Beaver Themer is easier to use and the process is more streamlined. Themer is newer and is only trying to provide a solution to one challenge – creating custom templates and archive layouts. The Themer UI is more modern and coherent.
- Toolset has more features and is more complex. While I choose the easiest way I know to create the custom templates and archive layouts, I believe there are actually 3 different ways to do it with Toolset. Toolset has more options and the suite has capabilities that Themer does not, so it is a tradeoff: simplicity vs more features.
- Both are great products with great teams.