Quick Start

Now that you have basic knowledge of applications, modules, and how they are each structured, we'll show you the easy way to get started.

Install the Zend Skeleton Application

The easiest way to get started is to install the skeleton application via Composer.

If you have not yet done so, install Composer.

Once you have, use the create-project command to create a new application:

$ composer create-project -sdev zendframework/skeleton-application my-application

Create a New Module

By default, one module is provided with the ZendSkeletonApplication, named "Application". It provides a controller to handle the "home" page of the application, the layout template, and templates for 404 and error pages.

Typically, you will not need to touch this other than to provide an alternate entry page for your site and/or alternate error page.

Additional functionality will be provided by creating new modules.

To get you started with modules, we recommend using the ZendSkeletonModule as a base. Download it from here:

Deflate the package, and rename the directory "ZendSkeletonModule" to reflect the name of the new module you want to create; when done, move the module into your new project's module/ directory.

At this point, it's time to create some functionality.

Update the Module Class

Let's update the Module class. We'll want to make sure the namespace is correct, configuration is enabled and returned, and that we setup autoloading on initialization. Since we're actively working on this module, the class list will be in flux; we probably want to be pretty lenient in our autoloading approach, so let's keep it flexible by using the StandardAutoloader. Let's begin.

First, let's have autoload_classmap.php return an empty array:

// autoload_classmap.php
return array();

We'll also edit our config/module.config.php file to read as follows:

return array(
    'view_manager' => array(
        'template_path_stack' => array(
            '<module-name>' => __DIR__ . '/../view'

Fill in module-name with a lowercased, dash-separated version of your module name; e.g., "ZendUser" would become "zend-user".

Next, edit the namespace declaration of the Module.php file. Replace the following line:

namespace ZendSkeletonModule;

with the namespace you want to use for your application.

Next, rename the directory src/ZendSkeletonModule to src/<YourModuleName>, and the directory view/zend-skeleton-module to src/<your-module-name>.

At this point, you now have your module configured properly. Let's create a controller!

Create a Controller

Controllers are objects that implement Zend\Stdlib\DispatchableInterface. This means they need to implement a dispatch() method that takes minimally a Request object as an argument.

In practice, though, this would mean writing logic to branch based on matched routing within every controller. As such, we've created several base controller classes for you to start with:

  • Zend\Mvc\Controller\AbstractActionController allows routes to match an "action". When matched, a method named after the action will be called by the controller. As an example, if you had a route that returned "foo" for the "action" key, the "fooAction" method would be invoked.
  • Zend\Mvc\Controller\AbstractRestfulController introspects the Request to determine what HTTP method was used, and calls a method according to that.
  • GET will call either the getList() method, or, if an "id" was matched during routing, the get() method (with that identifier value).
  • POST will call the create() method, passing in the $_POST values.
  • PUT expects an "id" to be matched during routing, and will call the update() method, passing in the identifier, and any data found in the raw post body.
  • DELETE expects an "id" to be matched during routing, and will call the delete() method.
  • Zend\Mvc\Console\Controller\AbstractConsoleController extends from AbstractActionController, but provides methods for retrieving the Zend\Console\Adapter\AdapterInterface instance, and ensuring that execution fails in non-console environments.

For version 3, the integration component zend-mvc-console must be installed. It can be done via Composer: `bash composer require zendframework/zend-mvc-console If you are not using the component installer, you will need to add this component as a module.

To get started, we'll create a "hello world"-style controller, with a single action. First, create the file HelloController.php in the directory src/<module name>/Controller. Edit it in your favorite text editor or IDE, and insert the following contents:

namespace <module name>\Controller;

use Zend\Mvc\Controller\AbstractActionController;
use Zend\View\Model\ViewModel;

class HelloController extends AbstractActionController
    public function worldAction()
        $message = $this->params()->fromQuery('message', 'foo');
        return new ViewModel(['message' => $message]);

So, what are we doing here?

  • We're creating an action controller.
  • We're defining an action, "world".
  • We're pulling a message from the query parameters (yes, this is a superbly bad idea in production! Always sanitize your inputs!).
  • We're returning a ViewModel with an array of values to be processed later.

We return a ViewModel. The view layer will use this when rendering the view, pulling variables and the template name from it. By default, you can omit the template name, and it will resolve to "lowercase-module-name/lowercase-controller-name/lowercase-action-name". However, you can override this to specify something different by calling setTemplate() on the ViewModel instance. Typically, templates will resolve to files with a ".phtml" suffix in your module's view directory.

So, with that in mind, let's create a view script.

Create a View Script

Create the directory view/<module-name>/hello. Inside that directory, create a file named world.phtml. Inside that, paste in the following:


<p>You said "<?php echo $this->escapeHtml($message) ?>".</p>

That's it. Save the file.

Escaping output

What is the method escapeHtml()? It's actually a view helper, and it's designed to help mitigate XSS attacks. Never trust user input; if you are at all uncertain about the source of a given variable in your view script, escape it using one of the provided escape view helpers depending on the type of data you have.

View scripts for module names with subnamespaces

As per PSR-0, modules should be named following the rule: <Vendor Name>\<Namespace>\*.

Since version 3.0, the default template name resolver uses fully qualified controller class names, stripping only the \Controller\\ subnamespace, if present. For example, AwesomeMe\MyModule\Controller\HelloWorldController resolves to the template name awesome-me/my-module/hello-world via the following configuration:

'view_manager' => array(
    'controller_map' => array(
        'AwesomeMe\MyModule' => true,

(In v2 releases, the default was to strip subnamespaces, but optional mapping rules allowed whitelisting namespaces in module configuration to enable current resolver behavior. See the migration guide for more details.)

Create a Route

Now that we have a controller and a view script, we need to create a route to it.

Default routing

ZendSkeletonModule ships with a "default route" that will likely get you to this action. That route is defined roughly as /{module}/{controller}/{action}, which means that the path /zend-user/hello/world will map to ZendUser\Controller\HelloController::worldAction() (assuming the module name were ZendUser).

We're going to create an explicit route in this example, as creating explicit routes is a recommended practice. The application will look for a Zend\Router\RouteStackInterface instance to setup routing. The default generated router is a Zend\Router\Http\TreeRouteStack.

To use the "default route" functionality, you will need to edit the shipped routing definition in the module's config/module.config.php, and replace:

  • /module-specific-root with a module-specific root path.
  • ZendSkeletonModule\Controller with <YourModuleName>\Controller.

Additionally, we need to tell the application we have a controller:

// module.config.php
return [
    'controllers' => [
        'invokables' => [
            '<module-namespace>\Controller\Index' => '<module-namespace>\Controller\IndexController',
            // Do similar for each other controller in your module
   // ... other configuration ...

Controller services

We inform the application about controllers we expect to have in the application. This is to prevent somebody requesting any service the ServiceManager knows about in an attempt to break the application. The dispatcher uses a special, scoped container that will only pull controllers that are specifically registered with it, either as invokable classes or via factories.

Open your config/module.config.php file, and modify it to add to the "routes" and "controller" parameters so it reads as follows:

return [
    'router' => [
        'routes' => [
            '<module name>-hello-world' => [
                'type'    => 'Literal',
                    'options' => [
                    'route' => '/hello/world',
                    'defaults' => [
                        'controller' => '<module name>\Controller\Hello',
                        'action'     => 'world',
    'controllers' => [
        'invokables' => [
            '<module namespace>\Controller\Hello' => '<module
    // ... other configuration ...

Tell the Application About our Module

One problem: we haven't told our application about our new module!

By default, modules are not utilized unless we tell the module manager about them. As such, we need to notify the application about them.

Remember the config/application.config.php file? Let's modify it to add our new module. Once done, it should read as follows:

return array(
    'modules' => array(
        '<module namespace>',
    'module_listener_options' => array(
        'module_paths' => array(

Replace <module namespace> with the namespace of your module.

Test it Out!

Now we can test things out! Create a new vhost pointing its document root to the public directory of your application, and fire it up in a browser. You should see the default homepage template of ZendSkeletonApplication.

Now alter the location in your URL to append the path "/hello/world", and load the page. You should now get the following content:


<p>You said "foo".</p>

Now alter the location to append "?message=bar" and load the page. You should now get:


<p>You said "bar".</p>

Congratulations! You've created your first ZF2 MVC module!

Found a mistake or want to contribute to the documentation? Edit this page on GitHub!