Zend Framework On the Way: Sample Application For Academic Purpose

Can Zend Framework do you a favor? Does it taste different flavour? If you ask me, the answer is yes.

As Zend Framework (ZF) is on its steady pace to the first stable release, more and more applications are [being] developed on ZF. This is also intriguing me to create some applications which are driven by ZF.

Fortunately, I was offered to create a system for managing final projects in my past department (it’s now recognized as School of Informatics and Electrical Engineering). Considering this as a perfect chance to show properly designed academic software and as a pilot project for other ZF-based applications, I took the opportunity and started developing the application.

Frontend view

Figure 1 Sample user’s frontend view

The application itself is mainly another CRUD application with some remote calls to fetch academic data located at different servers. The remote call API is customized to suit the department’s need. Currently it still relies on POST and GET based supplied parameters. However, it’s likely a custom XML API will be developed to handle the web service.

Zend_Db is used to handle database transaction. With its robust capabilities, there is not much problem dealing with several databases. The PDO driver is quite stable, although for some -add technical statement here- reasons, it doesn’t work very well for many-to-many relationships.

The extended Zend_View is used to handle the view layer. With its ability to handle pure php templates, there won’t be any need to do double parsing (ie. template variable parsing and the php code itself). This means, there is no additional time needed to learn how the template works, how to set variables, loops, etc which is usually more headache for some developers. The execution time is also lesser than average template engine libraries (still need more tests about this statement).

Template snippet

Figure 2 The template code snippet

With the use of Router from the Zend_Controller, and its regex feature, a nice url can be automatically generated. More time is saved to create hacks for SEO-friendly url like common application (without router) needs.

Controller snippet

Figure 3 The controller Code snippet

The Zend_Http simplifies HTTP calls. Zend_Acl simplifies the ACL creation for frontend and backend users. Zend_Session helps a lot in the session management.

The application is still on the beta phase. As soon as ZF 1.0 is released, it will be upgraded and more features will be added like AJAX integration and advanced security check.

Aren’t you interested in building your first ZF application? Try it. It’s fun. Perhaps, you’ll later find, it also suits your corporate environment.

6 thoughts on “Zend Framework On the Way: Sample Application For Academic Purpose

  1. Pingback: electrical engineering » Blog Archive » Zend Framework On the Way: Sample Application…

  2. Kim Joar Bekkelund

    Zend Framework has really intriguid me to. Working on a blog and a couple other small things on my own domain, but are also looking into using ZF on a much bigger project soon. How was your experience with it? I have heard that complex views still is a pain in the ass in ZF, what are your thoughts on it?

  3. Tech Admin Post author

    @Kim Joar
    great to hear you’re about to implement ZF for your next big project. yes, ZF developers still face problems with complex view which results in some tricks and tweaks. in the mailing list, a much proper way to handle complex view is still discussed.

    for me, what’s interesting now is integration with ajax library for the view part (jquery, mootools, yui?). like others, i’m still playing with this nice new toy 😉


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