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Create A Form

For our guestbook to be useful, we need a form for submitting new entries.

Our first order of business is to create the actual form class. To create the empty form class, execute:

% zf create form Guestbook
Creating a form at application/forms/Guestbook.php
Updating project profile '.zfproject.xml'

This will create the directory application/forms/ with the classfile Guestbook.php. Open that file and update it so it reads as follows:

// application/forms/Guestbook.php

class Application_Form_Guestbook extends Zend_Form
    public function init()
        // Set the method for the display form to POST

        // Add an email element
        $this->addElement('text', 'email', array(
            'label'      => 'Your email address:',
            'required'   => true,
            'filters'    => array('StringTrim'),
            'validators' => array(

        // Add the comment element
        $this->addElement('textarea', 'comment', array(
            'label'      => 'Please Comment:',
            'required'   => true,
            'validators' => array(
                array('validator' => 'StringLength', 'options' => array(0, 20))

        // Add a captcha
        $this->addElement('captcha', 'captcha', array(
            'label'      => 'Please enter the 5 letters displayed below:',
            'required'   => true,
            'captcha'    => array(
                'captcha' => 'Figlet',
                'wordLen' => 5,
                'timeout' => 300

        // Add the submit button
        $this->addElement('submit', 'submit', array(
            'ignore'   => true,
            'label'    => 'Sign Guestbook',

        // And finally add some CSRF protection
        $this->addElement('hash', 'csrf', array(
            'ignore' => true,

The above form defines five elements: an email address field, a comment field, a CAPTCHA for preventing spam submissions, a submit button, and a CSRF protection token.

Next, we will add a signAction() to our GuestbookController which will process the form upon submission. To create the action and related view script, execute the following:

% zf create action sign Guestbook
Creating an action named sign inside controller
    at application/controllers/GuestbookController.php
Updating project profile '.zfproject.xml'
Creating a view script for the sign action method
    at application/views/scripts/guestbook/sign.phtml
Updating project profile '.zfproject.xml'

As you can see from the output, this will create a signAction() method in our controller, as well as the appropriate view script.

Let's add some logic into our guestbook controller's sign action. We need to first check if we're getting a POST or a GET request; in the latter case, we'll simply display the form. However, if we get a POST request, we'll want to validate the posted data against our form, and, if valid, create a new entry and save it. The logic might look like this:

// application/controllers/GuestbookController.php

class GuestbookController extends Zend_Controller_Action
    // snipping indexAction()...

    public function signAction()
        $request = $this->getRequest();
        $form    = new Application_Form_Guestbook();

        if ($this->getRequest()->isPost()) {
            if ($form->isValid($request->getPost())) {
                $comment = new Application_Model_Guestbook($form->getValues());
                $mapper  = new Application_Model_GuestbookMapper();
                return $this->_helper->redirector('index');

        $this->view->form = $form;

Of course, we also need to edit the view script; edit application/views/scripts/guestbook/sign.phtml to read:

<!-- application/views/scripts/guestbook/sign.phtml -->

Please use the form below to sign our guestbook!


Better Looking Forms

No one will be waxing poetic about the beauty of this form anytime soon. No matter - form appearance is fully customizable! See the decorators section in the reference guide for details.

Additionally, you may be interested in our tutorial on form decorators.


Now browse to "http://localhost/guestbook/sign". You should see the following in your browser:

Zend Framework