Ever dreamed of having a node template with only this in it: print $content; ? Well, my sandbox site currently runs a patched version of CCK which does the following: order the fields on every display, not when managing them. You are also able to render the fields in what we call node regions. Screenshots and a first patch is available at the end of this post.
In the UI of CCK we all know right now, it's possible to set the order of the fields on the 'manage fields' tab. This affects the order on the node form and on the full node, teaser etc view. Since the arrival of http://drupal.org/project/nodeformcols, it's easier to have a more finer control of the node edit form and we wanted to have that same control over the full node, teaser, sticky view .. Adding a weight property wasn't that hard to accomplish. You can see that the order of fields is different in those 3 contexts on the sandbox site. We're still looking howto affect search results too ..
To make our themers happy, we added node regions, so it's easier for them play around with the fields while creating their views, teasers, full nodes etc. They can play with 5 regions without having to create one single template file. Only CSS, that's what they were hired for in the first place :) If you look at the sandbox site, you'll see that with those regions, a full view vs sticky looks different, only through the magic of css.
In the version we currently have at work, we are able to add extra fields with custom formatters. It resembles a bit like the 'content_extra_fields' hook you can currently implement. This gives us the benefit to render the title beneath an image for instance. In the next few days, we'll be looking on howto to extend that functionality in the CCK module.
We won't release this as a module or as a fork of CCK, the best way to contribute is to release a patch of course. We're still cleaning up the code a bit, but a first version is available. Apply it against the 6--2 branch of CCK - latest dev will probably work too. As soon as we think the patch is clean, we'll post it in the issue queue of CCK. In the meantime, if you have any questions or suggestions, ping us on IRC (swentel, stalski or zuuperman).
The manage fields now only manages the cck fields.
Display fields now controls the order and the region, here the full node.
Same screen, but now the sticky context.
Shot of firebug where you can see that 3 node regions are rendered.