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Zend Framework MVC Architecture

Zend  Framework MVC Architecture

Building web applications can be a complex, time-consuming process, however utilizing a framework can help you develop projects faster and work better. PHP has always been a very popular programming language giving birth to diverse open sources as well as frameworks. It has significantly evolved with time giving rise to new structure, advanced programming mechanism and providing niche benefits to the Zend framework development community. Using a framework majorly facilitates scalability and long-term maintenance by complying with development standards, keeping your code organized and allowing your application to evolve and grow over time. Zend has been a preferred choice when it comes to enterprise applications development. With more than 3500+ active web products working on Zend framework, the PHP community has a huge support backup.

Zend Framework is an open source object-oriented Web framework which fundamentally reduces the obstacles typically experienced when developing effective Web applications. The latest version/release of the Zend framework i.e. Zend 3 works almost four times faster than it’s previous version, confirming the dedicated efforts of the community toward the improvement of the framework. It provides developers with variety of tools which simplifies various tedious tasks, such as data validation, database access and manipulation, user account management and more. Many companies such as BBC, BNP Paribas, Autotrack and more, are using Zend Framework for building their successful websites.

Zend Framework as referred on their original website is a collection of professional PHP packages with more than 90 million installations. It can be used to create web applications and services using PHP 5.6+ and gives 100% object-oriented code utilizing a wide range of language features. It allows developers to execute their own variations of an individual component without having to get into the Zend framework codebases itself. It has a robust class library that extends from authentication components, authorization, database, paging, to other components that are part of the architectural pattern MVC (Model-View-Controller).

MVC is substantially more than a three-letter acronym but a standard used to provide a cutting edge design to web applications. Most web application codes falls under one of the accompanying three categories: presentation, business logic, and data access. This implies that your presentation code can be centralized in one part of your application with your business logic in another and your data access code in yet another. The objective of this is to allow code re-usability and separation of concerns. Numerous developers have found this well-defined separation indispensable for keeping their code organized, especially when more than one developer is working on a similar web application.


These are the parts of your application that do all the ‘truly difficult work’ – It handles database access, performs the complex and application-specific logic also responsible for most of what your application ‘does’.


The View is where data, requested from the Model, is viewed and its final output is resolved. It is the part of the framework where the HTML is generated and displayed. The View also ignites responses from the user, which then goes ahead to associate with the Controller. It’s also important that the View part is never given data by the Controller. There is no direct connection between the View and the Controller without the Model in between them.


The final component of the trine is the Controller. It handles data that the users inputs or submits, and updates the Model accordingly. The controller is responsible for taking user requests, sending them off to Model objects and preparing Models to be given to the Views.

The Zend Framework embraces the MVC design pattern, which energizes the separation of an application’s data, business logic, and presentation. Doing such simplifies the creation of more maintainable, reusable, and testable code.

You can configure your application by using different directory layout. Let’s have a quick look at the directory structure.

  • Config: It contains application-level configuration files.
  • Data: It contains the data your application might create; it may also contain cache used to accelerate Zend Framework.
  • Module: It contains all application modules. The Application is the principle module of the website. You can also put other modules in it if you want.
  • Vendor: It contains third-party library files, including Zend Framework library files.
  • Public: It contains data publicly accessible by the web-user. Generally, web-users will mainly communicate with the php, which is also called the entry point of the website.

Zend framework enhances performance by using Lazy loading. In lazy loading, Classes are loaded once when required. You don’t need to write require_once for every class you want to load. Rather, the framework automatically finds your classes using the autoloader feature. By using class map or class naming conventions Autoloader finds and load the required class. The Zend framework is built with some great security practices like Authentication & Authorization component as well as the Cryptographic component which are used to safely store passwords and protect sensitive data. There are various cryptographic algorithms used for this purpose like AES, Bcrypt, RSA and many more.

Zend Framework is definitely a recommended choice when it comes to enterprise application development. It provides an end to end solution for creating the Web application at a faster rate. It retains the simplicity and gives more convenience to developers for developing web applications in PHP using the MVC pattern. Zend framework will help to develop better quality web applications, with testable and reusable code that can be adapted to the changing requirements of a business environment.

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Written by Atman Rathod

Atman Rathod is the Founding Director at CMARIX InfoTech, a leading web and mobile app development company with 17+ years of experience. Having travelled to 38+ countries globally and provided more than $40m USD of software services, he is actively working with Startups, SMEs and Corporations utilizing technology to provide business transformation.

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