Whether I like it or not, Advanced Custom Fields is somewhat of an industry standard. And I do not use it. Why?
If you’ve never heard of Pods, then don’t start by comparing it to ACF.
Pods is fundamentally a Custom Post Type generator. It creates CPTs (as well as custom Settings pages). It gives you fine grained control over these.
Now that you’ve understood that, understand that it also allows you to add “advanced” custom fields to these post types and settings.
But there’s more. Pods masters relationships between CPTs. You can use a relationship field in one post type, to get data from another post type.
Further, “components” add vital tools, such as Rolls and Capabilities (think Members plugin).
Basically, you get an awful lot of power in one single plugin.
You do need to know a few Pods specific PHP commands, but there is not much to learn. And the Pods community have most things well documented. And in my experience, support has been excellent. This plugin has been around for a long time now, and it remains a powerful tool.
So in summary:
- CPT and Settings page generation
- Custom fields
- CPT Relationships
- Roles and Capabilities
All in one solid, well supported, plugin.