The Standard Router - Zend_Controller

The Standard Router


Zend_Controller_Router_Rewrite is the standard framework router. Routing is the process of taking a URI endpoint (that part of the URI which comes after the base URL) and decomposing it into parameters to determine which module, controller, and action of that controller should receive the request. This values of the module, controller, action and other parameters are packaged into a Zend_Controller_Request_Http object which is then processed by Zend_Controller_Dispatcher_Standard. Routing occurs only once: when the request is initially received and before the first controller is dispatched.

Zend_Controller_Router_Rewrite is designed to allow for mod_rewrite-like functionality using pure PHP structures. It is very loosely based on Ruby on Rails routing and does not require any prior knowledge of webserver URL rewriting. It is designed to work with a single Apache mod_rewrite rule (one of):

  1. RewriteEngine on
  2. RewriteRule !\.(js|ico|gif|jpg|png|css|html)$ index.php

or (preferred):

  1. RewriteEngine On
  2. RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -s [OR]
  3. RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -l [OR]
  4. RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -d
  5. RewriteRule ^.*$ - [NC,L]
  6. RewriteRule ^.*$ index.php [NC,L]

The rewrite router can also be used with the IIS webserver (versions <= 7.0) if » Isapi_Rewrite has been installed as an Isapi extension with the following rewrite rule:

  1. RewriteRule ^[\w/\%]*(?:\.(?!(?:js|ico|gif|jpg|png|css|html)$)[\w\%]*$)? /index.php [I]

Note: IIS Isapi_Rewrite
When using IIS, $_SERVER['REQUEST_URI'] will either not exist, or be set as an empty string. In this case, Zend_Controller_Request_Http will attempt to use the $_SERVER['HTTP_X_REWRITE_URL'] value set by the Isapi_Rewrite extension.

IIS 7.0 introduces a native URL rewriting module, and it can be configured as follows:

  1. <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
  2. <configuration>
  3.      <system.webServer>
  4.          <rewrite>
  5.              <rules>
  6.                  <rule name="Imported Rule 1" stopProcessing="true">
  7.                      <match url="^.*$" />
  8.                      <conditions logicalGrouping="MatchAny">
  9.                          <add input="{REQUEST_FILENAME}"
  10.                              matchType="IsFile" pattern=""
  11.                              ignoreCase="false" />
  12.                          <add input="{REQUEST_FILENAME}"
  13.                              matchType="IsDirectory"
  14.                              pattern="" ignoreCase="false" />
  15.                      </conditions>
  16.                      <action type="None" />
  17.                  </rule>
  18.                  <rule name="Imported Rule 2" stopProcessing="true">
  19.                      <match url="^.*$" />
  20.                      <action type="Rewrite" url="index.php" />
  21.                  </rule>
  22.              </rules>
  23.          </rewrite>
  24.      </system.webServer>
  25. </configuration>

If using Lighttpd, the following rewrite rule is valid:

  1. url.rewrite-once = (
  2.     ".*\?(.*)$" => "/index.php?$1",
  3.     ".*\.(js|ico|gif|jpg|png|css|html)$" => "$0",
  4.     "" => "/index.php"
  5. )

Using a Router

To properly use the rewrite router you have to instantiate it, add some user defined routes and inject it into the controller. The following code illustrates the procedure:

  1. // Create a router
  3. $router = $ctrl->getRouter(); // returns a rewrite router by default
  4. $router->addRoute(
  5.     'user',
  6.     new Zend_Controller_Router_Route('user/:username',
  7.                                      array('controller' => 'user',
  8.                                            'action' => 'info'))
  9. );

Basic Rewrite Router Operation

The heart of the RewriteRouter is the definition of user defined routes. Routes are added by calling the addRoute method of RewriteRouter and passing in a new instance of a class implementing Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Interface. Eg.:

  1. $router->addRoute('user',
  2.                   new Zend_Controller_Router_Route('user/:username'));

Rewrite Router comes with six basic types of routes (one of which is special):

Routes may be used numerous times to create a chain or user defined application routing schema. You may use any number of routes in any configuration, with the exception of the Module route, which should rather be used once and probably as the most generic route (i.e., as a default). Each route will be described in greater detail later on.

The first parameter to addRoute is the name of the route. It is used as a handle for getting the routes out of the router (e.g., for URL generation purposes). The second parameter being the route itself.

Note: The most common use of the route name is through the means of Zend_View url helper:

  1. <a href=
  2. "<?php echo $this->url(array('username' => 'martel'), 'user') ?>">Martel</a>
Which would result in the href: user/martel.

Routing is a simple process of iterating through all provided routes and matching its definitions to current request URI. When a positive match is found, variable values are returned from the Route instance and are injected into the Zend_Controller_Request object for later use in the dispatcher as well as in user created controllers. On a negative match result, the next route in the chain is checked.

If you need to determine which route was matched, you can use the getCurrentRouteName() method, which will return the identifier used when registering the route with the router. If you want the actual route object, you can use getCurrentRoute().

Note: Reverse Matching
Routes are matched in reverse order so make sure your most generic routes are defined first.

Note: Returned Values
Values returned from routing come from URL parameters or user defined route defaults. These variables are later accessible through the Zend_Controller_Request::getParam() or Zend_Controller_Action::_getParam() methods.

There are three special variables which can be used in your routes - 'module', 'controller' and 'action'. These special variables are used by Zend_Controller_Dispatcher to find a controller and action to dispatch to.

Note: Special Variables
The names of these special variables may be different if you choose to alter the defaults in Zend_Controller_Request_Http by means of the setControllerKey() and setActionKey() methods.

Default Routes

Zend_Controller_Router_Rewrite comes preconfigured with a default route, which will match URIs in the shape of controller/action. Additionally, a module name may be specified as the first path element, allowing URIs of the form module/controller/action. Finally, it will also match any additional parameters appended to the URI by default - controller/action/var1/value1/var2/value2.

Some examples of how such routes are matched:

  1. // Assuming the following:
  2. $ctrl->setControllerDirectory(
  3.     array(
  4.         'default' => '/path/to/default/controllers',
  5.         'news'    => '/path/to/news/controllers',
  6.         'blog'    => '/path/to/blog/controllers'
  7.     )
  8. );
  10. Module only:
  11. http://example/news
  12.     module == news
  14. Invalid module maps to controller name:
  15. http://example/foo
  16.     controller == foo
  18. Module + controller:
  19. http://example/blog/archive
  20.     module     == blog
  21.     controller == archive
  23. Module + controller + action:
  24. http://example/blog/archive/list
  25.     module     == blog
  26.     controller == archive
  27.     action     == list
  29. Module + controller + action + params:
  30. http://example/blog/archive/list/sort/alpha/date/desc
  31.     module     == blog
  32.     controller == archive
  33.     action     == list
  34.     sort       == alpha
  35.     date       == desc

The default route is simply a Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Module object stored under the name (index) of 'default' in RewriteRouter. It's created more-or-less like below:

  1. $compat = new Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Module(array(),
  2.                                                   $dispatcher,
  3.                                                   $request);
  4. $this->addRoute('default', $compat);

If you do not want this particular default route in your routing schema, you may override it by creating your own 'default' route (i.e., storing it under the name of 'default') or removing it altogether by using removeDefaultRoutes():

  1. // Remove any default routes
  2. $router->removeDefaultRoutes();

Base URL and Subdirectories

The rewrite router can be used in subdirectories (e.g., in which case the base URL of the application (/user/application-root) should be automatically detected by Zend_Controller_Request_Http and used accordingly.

Should the base URL be detected incorrectly you can override it with your own base path by using Zend_Controller_Request_Http and calling the setBaseUrl() method (see Base URL and Subdirectories):

  1. $request->setBaseUrl('/~user/application-root/');

Global Parameters

You can set global parameters in a router which are automatically supplied to a route when assembling through setGlobalParam(). If a global parameter is set but also given to the assemble method directly, the user parameter overrides the global parameter. You can set a global parameter this way:

  1. $router->setGlobalParam('lang', 'en');

Route Types


Zend_Controller_Router_Route is the standard framework route. It combines ease of use with flexible route definition. Each route consists primarily of URL mapping (of static and dynamic parts (variables)) and may be initialized with defaults as well as with variable requirements.

Let's imagine our fictional application will need some informational page about the content authors. We want to be able to point our web browsers to to see the information about this "martel" guy. And the route for such functionality could look like:

  1. $route = new Zend_Controller_Router_Route(
  2.     'author/:username',
  3.     array(
  4.         'controller' => 'profile',
  5.         'action'     => 'userinfo'
  6.     )
  7. );
  9. $router->addRoute('user', $route);

The first parameter in the Zend_Controller_Router_Route constructor is a route definition that will be matched to a URL. Route definitions consist of static and dynamic parts separated by the slash ('/') character. Static parts are just simple text: author. Dynamic parts, called variables, are marked by prepending a colon to the variable name: :username.

Note: Character Usage
The current implementation allows you to use any character (except a slash) as a variable identifier, but it is strongly recommended that one uses only characters that are valid for PHP variable identifiers. Future implementations may alter this behaviour, which could result in hidden bugs in your code.

This example route should be matched when you point your browser to, in which case all its variables will be injected to the Zend_Controller_Request object and will be accessible in your ProfileController. Variables returned by this example may be represented as an array of the following key and value pairs:

  1. $values = array(
  2.     'username'   => 'martel',
  3.     'controller' => 'profile',
  4.     'action'     => 'userinfo'
  5. );

Later on, Zend_Controller_Dispatcher_Standard should invoke the userinfoAction() method of your ProfileController class (in the default module) based on these values. There you will be able to access all variables by means of the Zend_Controller_Action::_getParam() or Zend_Controller_Request::getParam() methods:

  1. public function userinfoAction()
  2. {
  3.     $request = $this->getRequest();
  4.     $username = $request->getParam('username');
  6.     $username = $this->_getParam('username');
  7. }

Route definition can contain one more special character - a wildcard - represented by '*' symbol. It is used to gather parameters similarly to the default Module route (var => value pairs defined in the URI). The following route more-or-less mimics the Module route behavior:

  1. $route = new Zend_Controller_Router_Route(
  2.     ':module/:controller/:action/*',
  3.     array('module' => 'default')
  4. );
  5. $router->addRoute('default', $route);

Variable Defaults

Every variable in the route can have a default and this is what the second parameter of the Zend_Controller_Router_Route constructor is used for. This parameter is an array with keys representing variable names and with values as desired defaults:

  1. $route = new Zend_Controller_Router_Route(
  2.     'archive/:year',
  3.     array('year' => 2006)
  4. );
  5. $router->addRoute('archive', $route);

The above route will match URLs like and In the latter case the variable year will have an initial default value of 2006.

This example will result in injecting a year variable to the request object. Since no routing information is present (no controller and action parameters are defined), the application will be dispatched to the default controller and action method (which are both defined in Zend_Controller_Dispatcher_Abstract). To make it more usable, you have to provide a valid controller and a valid action as the route's defaults:

  1. $route = new Zend_Controller_Router_Route(
  2.     'archive/:year',
  3.     array(
  4.         'year'       => 2006,
  5.         'controller' => 'archive',
  6.         'action'     => 'show'
  7.     )
  8. );
  9. $router->addRoute('archive', $route);

This route will then result in dispatching to the method showAction() of the class ArchiveController.

Variable Requirements

One can add a third parameter to the Zend_Controller_Router_Route constructor where variable requirements may be set. These are defined as parts of a regular expression:

  1. $route = new Zend_Controller_Router_Route(
  2.     'archive/:year',
  3.     array(
  4.         'year'       => 2006,
  5.         'controller' => 'archive',
  6.         'action'     => 'show'
  7.     ),
  8.     array('year' => '\d+')
  9. );
  10. $router->addRoute('archive', $route);

With a route defined like above, the router will match it only when the year variable will contain numeric data, eg. A URL like will not be matched and control will be passed to the next route in the chain instead.

Translated segments

The standard route supports translated segments. To use this feature, you have to define at least a translator (an instance of Zend_Translate) via one of the following ways:

  • Put it into the registry with the key Zend_Translate.

  • Set it via the static method Zend_Controller_Router_Route::setDefaultTranslator().

  • Pass it as fourth parameter to the constructor.

By default, the locale specified in the Zend_Translate instance will be used. To override it, you set it (an instance of Zend_Locale or a locale string) in one of the following ways:

  • Put it into the registry with the key Zend_Locale.

  • Set it via the static method Zend_Controller_Router_Route::setDefaultLocale().

  • Pass it as fifth parameter to the constructor.

  • Pass it as @locale parameter to the assemble method.

Translated segments are separated into two parts. Fixed segments are prefixed by a single @-sign, and will be translated to the current locale when assembling and reverted to the message ID when matching again. Dynamic segments are prefixed by :@. When assembling, the given parameter will be translated and inserted into the parameter position. When matching, the translated parameter from the URL will be reverted to the message ID again.

Note: Message IDs and separate language file
Occasionally a message ID which you want to use in one of your routes is already used in a view script or somewhere else. To have full control over safe URLs, you should use a separate language file for the messages used in the route.

The following is the simplest way to prepare the standard route for translated segment usage:

  1. // Prepare the translator
  2. $translator = new Zend_Translate(
  3.     array(
  4.         'adapter' => 'array',
  5.         'content' => array(),
  6.         'locale'  => 'en'
  7.     )
  8. );
  9. $translator->addTranslation(
  10.     array(
  11.         'content' =>
  12.             array(
  13.                 'archive' => 'archiv',
  14.                 'year'    => 'jahr',
  15.                 'month'   => 'monat',
  16.                 'index'   => 'uebersicht'
  17.             ),
  18.         'locale'  => 'de'
  19.     )
  20. );
  22. // Set the current locale for the translator
  23. $translator->setLocale('en');
  25. // Set it as default translator for routes
  26. Zend_Controller_Router_Route::setDefaultTranslator($translator);

This example demonstrates the usage of static segments:

  1. // Create the route
  2. $route = new Zend_Controller_Router_Route(
  3.     '@archive',
  4.     array(
  5.         'controller' => 'archive',
  6.         'action'     => 'index'
  7.     )
  8. );
  9. $router->addRoute('archive', $route);
  11. // Assemble the URL in default locale: archive
  12. $route->assemble(array());
  14. // Assemble the URL in german: archiv
  15. $route->assemble(array());

You can use the dynamic segments to create a module-route like translated version:

  1. // Create the route
  2. $route = new Zend_Controller_Router_Route(
  3.     ':@controller/:@action/*',
  4.     array(
  5.         'controller' => 'index',
  6.         'action'     => 'index'
  7.     )
  8. );
  9. $router->addRoute('archive', $route);
  11. // Assemble the URL in default locale: archive/index/foo/bar
  12. $route->assemble(array('controller' => 'archive', 'foo' => 'bar'));
  14. // Assemble the URL in german: archiv/uebersicht/foo/bar
  15. $route->assemble(array('controller' => 'archive', 'foo' => 'bar'));

You can also mix static and dynamic segments:

  1. // Create the route
  2. $route = new Zend_Controller_Router_Route(
  3.     '@archive/:@mode/:value',
  4.     array(
  5.         'mode'       => 'year'
  6.         'value'      => 2005,
  7.         'controller' => 'archive',
  8.         'action'     => 'show'
  9.     ),
  10.     array('mode'  => '(month|year)'
  11.           'value' => '\d+')
  12. );
  13. $router->addRoute('archive', $route);
  15. // Assemble the URL in default locale: archive/month/5
  16. $route->assemble(array('mode' => 'month', 'value' => '5'));
  18. // Assemble the URL in german: archiv/monat/5
  19. $route->assemble(array('mode' => 'month', 'value' => '5', '@locale' => 'de'));


The examples above all use dynamic routes -- routes that contain patterns to match against. Sometimes, however, a particular route is set in stone, and firing up the regular expression engine would be an overkill. The answer to this situation is to use static routes:

  1. $route = new Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Static(
  2.     'login',
  3.     array('controller' => 'auth', 'action' => 'login')
  4. );
  5. $router->addRoute('login', $route);

Above route will match a URL of, and dispatch to AuthController::loginAction().

Note: Warning: Static Routes must Contain Sane Defaults
Since a static route does not pass any part of the URL to the request object as parameters, you must pass all parameters necessary for dispatching a request as defaults to the route. Omitting the "controller" or "action" default values will have unexpected results, and will likely result in the request being undispatchable.
As a rule of thumb, always provide each of the following default values:

  • controller

  • action

  • module (if not default)

Optionally, you can also pass the "useDefaultControllerAlways" parameter to the front controller during bootstrapping:
  1. $front->setParam('useDefaultControllerAlways', true);
However, this is considered a workaround; it is always better to explicitly define sane defaults.


In addition to the default and static route types, a Regular Expression route type is available. This route offers more power and flexibility over the others, but at a slight cost of complexity. At the same time, it should be faster than the standard Route.

Like the standard route, this route has to be initialized with a route definition and some defaults. Let's create an archive route as an example, similar to the previously defined one, only using the Regex route this time:

  1. $route = new Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Regex(
  2.     'archive/(\d+)',
  3.     array(
  4.         'controller' => 'archive',
  5.         'action'     => 'show'
  6.     )
  7. );
  8. $router->addRoute('archive', $route);

Every defined regex subpattern will be injected to the request object. With our above example, after successful matching, the resulting value array may look like:

  1. $values = array(
  2.     1            => '2006',
  3.     'controller' => 'archive',
  4.     'action'     => 'show'
  5. );

Note: Leading and trailing slashes are trimmed from the URL in the Router prior to a match. As a result, matching the URL, would involve a regex of foo/bar, and not /foo/bar.

Note: Line start and line end anchors ('^' and '$', respectively) are automatically pre- and appended to all expressions. Thus, you should not use these in your regular expressions, and you should match the entire string.

Note: This route class uses the '#' character for a delimiter. This means that you will need to escape hash characters ('#') but not forward slashes ('/') in your route definitions. Since the '#' character (named anchor) is rarely passed to the webserver, you will rarely need to use that character in your regex.

You can get the contents of the defined subpatterns the usual way:

  1. public function showAction()
  2. {
  3.     $request = $this->getRequest();
  4.     $year    = $request->getParam(1); // $year = '2006';
  5. }

Note: Notice the key is an integer (1) instead of a string ('1').

This route will not yet work exactly the same as its standard route counterpart since the default for 'year' is not yet set. And what may not yet be evident is that we will have a problem with a trailing slash even if we declare a default for the year and make the subpattern optional. The solution is to make the whole year part optional along with the slash but catch only the numeric part:

  1. $route = new Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Regex(
  2.     'archive(?:/(\d+))?',
  3.     array(
  4.         1            => '2006',
  5.         'controller' => 'archive',
  6.         'action'     => 'show'
  7.     )
  8. );
  9. $router->addRoute('archive', $route);

Now let's get to the problem you have probably noticed on your own by now. Using integer based keys for parameters is not an easily manageable solution and may be potentially problematic in the long run. And that's where the third parameter comes in. This parameter is an associative array that represents a map of regex subpatterns to parameter named keys. Let's work on our easier example:

  1. $route = new Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Regex(
  2.     'archive/(\d+)',
  3.     array(
  4.         'controller' => 'archive',
  5.         'action' => 'show'
  6.     ),
  7.     array(
  8.         1 => 'year'
  9.     )
  10. );
  11. $router->addRoute('archive', $route);

This will result in following values injected into Request:

  1. $values = array(
  2.     'year'       => '2006',
  3.     'controller' => 'archive',
  4.     'action'     => 'show'
  5. );

The map may be defined in either direction to make it work in any environment. Keys may contain variable names or subpattern indexes:

  1. $route = new Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Regex(
  2.     'archive/(\d+)',
  3.     array( ... ),
  4.     array(1 => 'year')
  5. );
  7. // OR
  9. $route = new Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Regex(
  10.     'archive/(\d+)',
  11.     array( ... ),
  12.     array('year' => 1)
  13. );

Note: Subpattern keys have to be represented by integers.

Notice that the numeric index in Request values is now gone and a named variable is shown in its place. Of course you can mix numeric and named variables if you wish:

  1. $route = new Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Regex(
  2.     'archive/(\d+)/page/(\d+)',
  3.     array( ... ),
  4.     array('year' => 1)
  5. );

Which will result in mixed values available in the Request. As an example, the URL will result in following values:

  1. $values = array(
  2.     'year'       => '2006',
  3.     2            => 10,
  4.     'controller' => 'archive',
  5.     'action'     => 'show'
  6. );

Since regex patterns are not easily reversed, you will need to prepare a reverse URL if you wish to use a URL helper or even an assemble method of this class. This reversed path is represented by a string parsable by sprintf() and is defined as a fourth construct parameter:

  1. $route = new Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Regex(
  2.     'archive/(\d+)',
  3.     array( ... ),
  4.     array('year' => 1),
  5.     'archive/%s'
  6. );

All of this is something which was already possible by the means of a standard route object, so where's the benefit in using the Regex route, you ask? Primarily, it allows you to describe any type of URL without any restrictions. Imagine you have a blog and wish to create URLs like:, and have it decompose the last path element, 01-Using_the_Regex_Router.html, into an article ID and article title or description; this is not possible with the standard route. With the Regex route, you can do something like the following solution:

  1. $route = new Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Regex(
  2.     'blog/archive/(\d+)-(.+)\.html',
  3.     array(
  4.         'controller' => 'blog',
  5.         'action'     => 'view'
  6.     ),
  7.     array(
  8.         1 => 'id',
  9.         2 => 'description'
  10.     ),
  11.     'blog/archive/%d-%s.html'
  12. );
  13. $router->addRoute('blogArchive', $route);

As you can see, this adds a tremendous amount of flexibility over the standard route.


Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Hostname is the hostname route of the framework. It works similar to the standard route, but it works on the with the hostname of the called URL instead with the path.

Let's use the example from the standard route and see how it would look like in a hostname based way. Instead of calling the user via a path, we'd want to have a user to be able to call to see the information about the user "martel":

  1. $hostnameRoute = new Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Hostname(
  2.     '',
  3.     array(
  4.         'controller' => 'profile',
  5.         'action'     => 'userinfo'
  6.     )
  7. );
  9. $plainPathRoute = new Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Static('');
  11. $router->addRoute('user', $hostnameRoute->chain($plainPathRoute));

The first parameter in the Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Hostname constructor is a route definition that will be matched to a hostname. Route definitions consist of static and dynamic parts separated by the dot ('.') character. Dynamic parts, called variables, are marked by prepending a colon to the variable name: :username. Static parts are just simple text: user.

Hostname routes can, but never should be used as is. The reason behind that is, that a hostname route alone would match any path. So what you have to do is to chain a path route to the hostname route. This is done like in the example by calling $hostnameRoute->chain($pathRoute);. By doing this, $hostnameRoute isn't modified, but a new route (Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Chain) is returned, which can then be given to the router.


Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Chain is a route which allows to chain multiple routes together. This allows you to chain hostname-routes and path routes, or multiple path routes for example. Chaining can be done either programatically or within a configuration file.

Note: Parameter Priority
When chaining routes together, the parameters of the outer route have a higher priority than the parameters of the inner route. Thus if you define a controller in the outer and in the inner route, the controller of the outer route will be selected.

When chaining programatically, there are two ways to achieve this. The first one is to create a new Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Chain instance and then calling the chain() method multiple times with all routes which should be chained together. The other way is to take the first route, e.g. a hostname route, and calling the chain() method on it with the route which should be appended to it. This will not modify the hostname route, but return a new instance of Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Chain, which then has both routes chained together:

  1. // Create two routes
  2. $hostnameRoute = new Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Hostname(...);
  3. $pathRoute     = new Zend_Controller_Router_Route(...);
  5. // First way, chain them via the chain route
  6. $chainedRoute = new Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Chain();
  7. $chainedRoute->chain($hostnameRoute)
  8.              ->chain($pathRoute);
  10. // Second way, chain them directly
  11. $chainedRoute = $hostnameRoute->chain($pathRoute);

When chaining routes together, their separator is a slash by default. There may be cases when you want to have a different separator:

  1. // Create two routes
  2. $firstRoute  = new Zend_Controller_Router_Route('foo');
  3. $secondRoute = new Zend_Controller_Router_Route('bar');
  5. // Chain them together with a different separator
  6. $chainedRoute = $firstRoute->chain($secondRoute, '-');
  8. // Assemble the route: "foo-bar"
  9. echo $chainedRoute->assemble();

Chain Routes via Zend_Config

To chain routes together in a config file, there are additional parameters for the configuration of those. The simpler approach is to use the chains parameters. This one is simply a list of routes, which will be chained with the parent route. Neither the parent- nor the child-route will be added directly to the router but only the resulting chained route. The name of the chained route in the router will be the parent route name and the child route name concatenated with a dash (-) by default. A simple config in XML would look like this:

  1. <routes>
  2.     <www type="Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Hostname">
  3.         <route></route>
  4.         <chains>
  5.             <language type="Zend_Controller_Router_Route">
  6.                 <route>:language</route>
  7.                 <reqs language="[a-z]{2}">
  8.                 <chains>
  9.                     <index type="Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Static">
  10.                         <route></route>
  11.                         <defaults module="default" controller="index"
  12.                                   action="index" />
  13.                     </index>
  14.                     <imprint type="Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Static">
  15.                         <route>imprint</route>
  16.                         <defaults module="default" controller="index"
  17.                                   action="index" />
  18.                     </imprint>
  19.                 </chains>
  20.             </language>
  21.         </chains>
  22.     </www>
  23.     <users type="Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Hostname">
  24.         <route></route>
  25.         <chains>
  26.             <profile type="Zend_Controller_Router_Route">
  27.                 <route>:username</route>
  28.                 <defaults module="users" controller="profile" action="index" />
  29.             </profile>
  30.         </chains>
  31.     </users>
  32.     <misc type="Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Static">
  33.         <route>misc</route>
  34.     </misc>
  35. </routes>

This will result in the three routes www-language-index, www-language-imprint and users-language-profile which will only match based on the hostname and the route misc, which will match with any hostname.

The alternative way of creating a chained route is via the chain parameter, which can only be used with the chain-route type directly, and also just works in the root level:

  1. <routes>
  2.     <www type="Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Chain">
  3.         <route></route>
  4.     </www>
  5.     <language type="Zend_Controller_Router_Route">
  6.         <route>:language</route>
  7.         <reqs language="[a-z]{2}">
  8.     </language>
  9.     <index type="Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Static">
  10.         <route></route>
  11.         <defaults module="default" controller="index" action="index" />
  12.     </index>
  13.     <imprint type="Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Static">
  14.         <route>imprint</route>
  15.         <defaults module="default" controller="index" action="index" />
  16.     </imprint>
  18.     <www-index type="Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Chain">
  19.         <chain>www, language, index</chain>
  20.     </www-index>
  21.     <www-imprint type="Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Chain">
  22.         <chain>www, language, imprint</chain>
  23.     </www-imprint>
  24. </routes>

You can also give the chain parameter as array instead of separating the routes with a comma:

  1. <routes>
  2.     <www-index type="Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Chain">
  3.         <chain>www</chain>
  4.         <chain>language</chain>
  5.         <chain>index</chain>
  6.     </www-index>
  7.     <www-imprint type="Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Chain">
  8.         <chain>www</chain>
  9.         <chain>language</chain>
  10.         <chain>imprint</chain>
  11.     </www-imprint>
  12. </routes>

When you configure chain routes with Zend_Config and want the chain name separator to be different from a dash, you need to specify this separator separately:

  1. $config = new Zend_Config(array(
  2.     'chainName' => array(
  3.         'type'   => 'Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Static',
  4.         'route'  => 'foo',
  5.         'chains' => array(
  6.             'subRouteName' => array(
  7.                 'type'     => 'Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Static',
  8.                 'route'    => 'bar',
  9.                 'defaults' => array(
  10.                     'module'      => 'module',
  11.                      'controller' => 'controller',
  12.                      'action'     => 'action'
  13.                 )
  14.             )
  15.         )
  16.     )
  17. ));
  19. // Set separator before adding config
  20. $router->setChainNameSeparator('_separator_')
  22. // Add config
  23. $router->addConfig($config);
  25. // The name of our route now is: chainName_separator_subRouteName
  26. echo $this->_router->assemble(array(), 'chainName_separator_subRouteName');
  28. // The proof: it echoes /foo/bar


The Zend_Rest component contains a RESTful route for Zend_Controller_Router_Rewrite. This route offers a standardized routing scheme that routes requests by translating the HTTP method and the URI to a module, controller, and action. The table below provides an overview of how request methods and URI's are routed.

Zend_Rest_Route Behavior
Method URI Module_Controller::action
GET /product/ratings/ Product_RatingsController::indexAction()
GET /product/ratings/:id Product_RatingsController::getAction()
POST /product/ratings Product_RatingsController::postAction()
PUT /product/ratings/:id Product_RatingsController::putAction()
DELETE /product/ratings/:id Product_RatingsController::deleteAction()
POST /product/ratings/:id?_method=PUT Product_RatingsController::putAction()
POST /product/ratings/:id?_method=DELETE Product_RatingsController::deleteAction()

Zend_Rest_Route Usage

To enable Zend_Rest_Route for an entire application, construct it with no config params and add it as the default route on the front controller:

  1. $front     = Zend_Controller_Front::getInstance();
  2. $restRoute = new Zend_Rest_Route($front);
  3. $front->getRouter()->addRoute('default', $restRoute);

Note: If Zend_Rest_Route cannot match a valid module, controller, or action, it will return FALSE and the router will attempt to match using the next route in the router.

To enable Zend_Rest_Route for specific modules, construct it with an array of module names as the 3rd constructor argument:

  1. $front     = Zend_Controller_Front::getInstance();
  2. $restRoute = new Zend_Rest_Route($front, array(), array('product'));
  3. $front->getRouter()->addRoute('rest', $restRoute);

To enable Zend_Rest_Route for specific controllers, add an array of controller names as the value of each module array element.

  1. $front     = Zend_Controller_Front::getInstance();
  2. $restRoute = new Zend_Rest_Route($front, array(), array(
  3.     'product' => array('ratings')
  4. ));
  5. $front->getRouter()->addRoute('rest', $restRoute);

Zend_Rest_Route with Zend_Config_Ini

To use Zend_Rest_Route from an INI config file, use a route type parameter and set the config options:

  1. = Zend_Rest_Route
  2. = object
  3. = project,user

The 'type' option designates the RESTful routing config type. The 'defaults' option is used to specify custom default module, controller, and/or actions for the route. All other options in the config group are treated as RESTful module names, and their values are RESTful controller names. The example config defines Mod_ProjectController and Mod_UserController as RESTful controllers.

Then use the addConfig() method of the Rewrite router object:

  1. $config = new Zend_Config_Ini('path/to/routes.ini');
  2. $router = new Zend_Controller_Router_Rewrite();
  3. $router->addConfig($config, 'routes');


To help or guide development of Controllers for use with Zend_Rest_Route, extend your Controllers from Zend_Rest_Controller. Zend_Rest_Controller defines the 5 most-commonly needed operations for RESTful resources in the form of abstract action methods.

  • indexAction() - Should retrieve an index of resources and assign it to view.

  • getAction() - Should retrieve a single resource identified by URI and assign it to view.

  • postAction() - Should accept a new single resource and persist its state.

  • putAction() - Should accept a single resource idenitifed by URI and persist its state.

  • deleteAction() - Should delete a single resource identified by URI.

Using Zend_Config with the RewriteRouter

Sometimes it is more convenient to update a configuration file with new routes than to change the code. This is possible via the addConfig() method. Basically, you create a Zend_Config-compatible configuration, and in your code read it in and pass it to the RewriteRouter.

As an example, consider the following INI file:

  1. [production]
  2. routes.archive.route = "archive/:year/*"
  3. routes.archive.defaults.controller = archive
  4. routes.archive.defaults.action = show
  5. routes.archive.defaults.year = 2000
  6. routes.archive.reqs.year = "\d+"
  8. = "Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Static"
  9. = "news"
  10. = "news"
  11. = "list"
  13. routes.archive.type = "Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Regex"
  14. routes.archive.route = "archive/(\d+)"
  15. routes.archive.defaults.controller = "archive"
  16. routes.archive.defaults.action = "show"
  17. = "year"
  18. ; OR: = 1

The above INI file can then be read into a Zend_Config object as follows:

  1. $config = new Zend_Config_Ini('/path/to/config.ini', 'production');
  2. $router = new Zend_Controller_Router_Rewrite();
  3. $router->addConfig($config, 'routes');

In the above example, we tell the router to use the 'routes' section of the INI file to use for its routes. Each first-level key under that section will be used to define a route name; the above example defines the routes 'archive' and 'news'. Each route then requires, at minimum, a 'route' entry and one or more 'defaults' entries; optionally one or more 'reqs' (short for 'required') may be provided. All told, these correspond to the three arguments provided to a Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Interface object. An option key, 'type', can be used to specify the route class type to use for that particular route; by default, it uses Zend_Controller_Router_Route. In the example above, the 'news' route is defined to use Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Static.

Subclassing the Router

The standard rewrite router should provide most functionality you may need; most often, you will only need to create a new route type in order to provide new or modified functionality over the provided routes.

That said, you may at some point find yourself wanting to use a different routing paradigm. The interface Zend_Controller_Router_Interface provides the minimal information required to create a router, and consists of a single method.

  1. interface Zend_Controller_Router_Interface
  2. {
  3.   /**
  4.    * @param  Zend_Controller_Request_Abstract $request
  5.    * @throws Zend_Controller_Router_Exception
  6.    * @return Zend_Controller_Request_Abstract
  7.    */
  8.   public function route(Zend_Controller_Request_Abstract $request);
  9. }

Routing only occurs once: when the request is first received into the system. The purpose of the router is to determine the controller, action, and optional parameters based on the request environment, and then set them in the request. The request object is then passed to the dispatcher. If it is not possible to map a route to a dispatch token, the router should do nothing to the request object.


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