Zend is an open-source Framework that is object-oriented and is designed to simplify the development of web applications. It is implemented inPHP5 and licensed under the New BSD license. It uses modular architecture to enable developers to use only the components they need.

Yet, there are partial dependencies between components. Zend Framework can include components for MVC applications, authentication and authorization, implementation of different types of cache, validators and filters for user data, language components and more. The beginning of the development dates back to 2005, when many new frameworks such as Ruby on Rails or Spring Framework began to gain popularity. The main developer is Matthew Weier O’Phinney.

Properties of Zend Framework

  • All components are fully object-oriented and correspond to E_STRICT assumptions.
  • The modular architecture of the type “use, whatever you want”, leads to the minimization of dependencies between components.
  • The MVC implementation can be extended with the layout support and using the template system.
  • The support for multi-database systems include MySQL, IBM DB2, Oracle, PostgreSQL, MSSQL Server, Informix Dynamix Server and SQLite.
  • It supports e-mail composition and sending /receiving e-mails through mbox, Maildir, POP3, or IMAP4.
  • Cache subsystems are flexible and have support for many backend types like memory or file.


Helpers are auxiliary functions designed to make it easier for developers to work. The frequently used code or specific functionality can be stored in the helper and then be reused. There are two types of helpers in Zend Framework. The first kind of helpers are action helpers and the second one are view helpers. Zend also contains some predefined helpers.

Action Helpers

Some examples of frequently used action helpers can be seen below:

  • Autocomplete helps with automatic supplementing of forms.
  • View Renderer ensures that after finishing the action, the view is drawn without any additional setting.
  • Action Stack. Enables you to insert requests for subsequent processing of action using the Actionstack plugin.
  • FlashMessenger helps with storing text across the application. This makes it possible to store information for reloading the page. The disadvantage is that it cannot name the space and it is necessary to add additional metadata to the same text at the same time.

View Helpers

  • Action View allows you to load the action from the controller and insert the result into the view.
  • Partial is used to reuse frequently repeated elements in the view.
  • Placeholder helps to compose the contents of the pages. It enables the storage of named data that can be subsequently accessed in any view.

The advantages of using Zend Framework

  • Speed of the development. Zend Framework enables you to speed up the development of web applications.
  • Demos. Zend has multiple demo examples to help you get oriented in existing components.
  • Simple selection of necessary components. Zend offers groups of classes that are easy to record separately whenever they are needed.
  • Object-oriented. The emphasis on the object allows simple reuse of the code, thus saving the work of the programmer.
  • Modifications of existing classes. The developer can add his own variations and add his own parts of the code for the maximal specialisation.

The disadvantages of using Zend Framework

  • Less extensive documentation. The documentation is small and poorly legible.
  • Radical changes between different versions. If you are going to change to a newer version of Zend Framework, devote an extra portion of time to testing. Some behavioural changes may have a major impact on the application’s operation.
  • The ORM is missing.
  • Framework with a view. If the developer starts solving things differently from the “mental setting” of the Framework, there may be big problems.
  • Slow performance. For most of the web sites, its speed is sufficient and the database is the bottleneck, but Zend is relatively slow compared with other frameworks.
  • Forms. Forms are relatively demanding to implement.