First, I'd ask you to watch this video about templates and themes in Sitefinity
. It explains the basics.
Second, templates can share .master pages. Moreover, you could come up with a very generic .master with as much content place holders as you would need. Then you could duplicate
the template and things as you need. You can "disable" a content place holder if you put an empty generic content control in it in the template editor.
You can have many controls on a placeholder. ContentPlaceHolder is just a regular control, so you could instantiate a template
in it, if you want to use this approach. Programatically, you could achieve almost anything.
Something else that you might have missed: a template has a default theme, but it can have as many themes as you need. For example, see Default.master, the Default template and its four theme variations. It is the same .master with the same template, and the themes (css) define the look.
If you have some nice suggestions, now is the time: we are planning for 4.0, so if we like the idea, and have time to implement it, it will be included!
the Telerik team