3 Engineers Blog: 3 Step Layouts in Zend Framework
In a recent post to the 3 Engineers blog, they take the usual "Two Step" approach the Zend Framework takes to generating view data (Zend_View + Zend_Layout) and takes it up one more step by using Three Step Layouts with a simple wrapper.
While the Two Step View pattern creates a reasonable paradigm for seperating layout presentation from page presentation, enabling Three-level Inheritance allows for even better separation. In other words, using 3 Step Layouts is a possible and often necessary investment to make when implementing front-ends in Zend Framework projects; they allow fine grain re-usability that provides for a DRYer presentation layer.
They have a three step process you can follow (complete with code snippets) that'll have you working with their 3 layers easily. The wrapper is a sort of "boostrap" for the layout. The nested layout is then pulled into this wrapper (for example's sake, theirs is called "default") and then the view can be served as normal and placed into the content location. There's also a bit of code showing how to switch out the layout if there's ever a need - like different layouts for the admin, user and main parts of your application.