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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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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