Making Zend_Navigation Useful

In the last blog post, we discussed creating Zend_Navigation pages and containers. This is certainly wonderful and exciting, but the reality is that for the most part, Zend_Navigation is a pretty useless component of Zend Framework until you have a way to get the data out of the structure you’ve built. And since navigation is a component of most people’s views, we have a view helper to give us the tools we need.

When inside the view, there is a helper method called navigation() that can be accessed to do pretty much any of the things you need to do with the navigation objects. So let’s get started.

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Wednesday, March 31st, 2010 @ 7:00 am | Comment (4) | Categories: Technology, Web Design, Zend Framework
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An Intro To Zend_Navigation

This past week I had the need to integrate Zend_Acl with a navigation and menu system. Unfortunately, the documentation took a couple reads for me to understand how Zend_Navigation worked; given this, I wanted to write a primer that others could use to get started with Zend_Navigation. This is a short guide to how Zend_Navigation works, and how you can use it to improve your application.

Some Critical Vocabulary
There is some critical vocabulary that needs to be understood about Zend_Navigation and its use. For starters, Zend_Navigation makes a distinction between pages and containers. A page is a page in your application, either internal (Mvc) or external (Uri). A container is anything that stores pages. The confusing part of this is that pages are containers in themselves. This allows you to build trees of pages.

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Monday, March 29th, 2010 @ 7:00 am | Comment (5) | Categories: Technology, System Architecture, Zend Framework
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The Adventures Of Merging Propel With Zend Framework

Recently, I finished my first production-quality Zend Framework application. It was a new website that made use of an old backend that powers another application I wrote using a custom framework. I wanted to use Zend Framework to practice on it, and to learn things I hadn’t yet learned since I had yet to put an application into production; however, I didn’t have any desire to rewrite my model, which was done in Propel.

Propel has two things going for it already: the first is that Propel includes its own autoloader, meaning that I didn’t have to try and force Propel into Zend Framework’s file system structure. The second is that Propel is designed to let you put it’s files anywhere you want with ease, so long as you update your include path properly. This made the process significantly easier than I had thought it would be.

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Monday, March 22nd, 2010 @ 7:00 am | Comment (3) | Categories: Zend Framework, Technology
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Learning Zend Framework: A Case Study

Recently I’ve been immersed into a Zend Framework project in a way that I’ve never been immersed before. This immersion experience has brought out a few thoughts and lessons that I’ve learned through the process about how to get into a framework, how to start a new project using a framework you’ve never used before, and the best way to learn without losing your sanity. Here are my findings.

Don’t fight the framework.
Various frameworks out there have varying degrees of integration with one another. While an argument can be made as to whether or not tightly integrated frameworks are better or worse than loosely integrated frameworks, when starting a new framework it’s best to accept it lock, stock and barrel (in other words, accept it completely).

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Thursday, March 18th, 2010 @ 1:00 am | Comment (10) | Categories: Databases, Zend Framework, Technology
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