If I have my preferences I tend to have all shirts with plackets and pockets. A plain/french front shirt with hidden buttons to me looks a bit fussy or something. A placket says "this is a working shirt". A placket gives a nice vertical line and breaks up the horizontal line nicely. Slimming. The vertical line both invites and complements a tie. Or substitutes for a tie and hints at the absence of tie when the neck is open sans tie. No pocket seems impractical. Business cards when received are popped in shirt pocket. Usually a pen there too. My dockets/receipt go in shirt pocket.
I'm tending to prefer simple straight cut barrel cuffs these days too. I've gone off cufflinks a bit. I think I'm trying for a overall softer less shiney and refined look. Suede footwear, nappy-er materials, knit ties, thicker socks, shirts with some texture.
This is as opposed to a hidden placket, which is really most suitable for black tie IMO:
A French front shirt does look more refined (which - depending on your disposition and trade - may be good or bad). As Checkstar mentioned, 99% of store bought shirts - even the nicer ones - have a regular placket, so a Ffront is a little detail that sets you apart from the herd but not in a showy way. Same with rounded cuffs (whether they be double or single) as OTR shirts usually have square or diagonal-cut cuffs.
As for pockets in shirts, I agree they are practical but when you actually use them how you're meant to (i.e. stuff them full of your cards, pens, 8c/L fuel discount dockets, bank passbooks etc.) it looks messy, or as Romp said, (nutty) professor. Wallets, card holders, and jacket / trouser pockets all do the job of holding and concealing your crap better than your shirt does..
As for pens in pockets: not even once. They leak and it's game over for your day and the shirt.