Matthew Weier O'Phinney has a new post to his blog today showing you how to use action helpers to make widgets that you can reuse all over your Zend Framework application. His method doesn't use the "action()" helper, either.
The situation all started when Andries tweeted asking about what he considered some mis-behavior on the part of the action() view helper -- a situation that turned out not to be an issue, per se, but more a case of bad architecture within Zend Framework. [...] The helper was done this way because Zend Framework does not render views a single time -- it instead renders after each action, and accumulates views to render in the layout.
Instead, he offers action helpers as a solution. He gives an example of a user module that has views, helpers and forms but no controllers, including a Bootstrap file. This bootstrap defines the helpers, configuration file and adds the helpers into the process flow of the application. Once things are all set up and the action helper is created, adding the module to a page is as easy as calling "createProfileWidget()" into a partial view.