Creating Custom Zend Element – Phone Number

(using Zend 1.11.11)

So I wanted to make a phone number input that would have 3 boxes; area code, prefix and line. (Yes I just now learned what the three parts meant)

To do this, you need to create two things:

  • A Form Element
    • This is used to validate our element.
  • A View Helper to display it.
    • Used to create the input boxes.

Here is my PhoneNumber class:

setValue($value); // Parent call to isValid will set the value to a single part, not the whole phone number.
return false;

// If the user entered a number, make sure that the values are digits.
if($value != null){
// Make sure that each fild is a number
$digits = new Zend_Validate_Digits();
$errors = array();
if(!$digits->isValid($area) || !$digits->isValid($prefix) || !$digits->isValid($line)){
$this->setValue($value); // $digits->isValid will set the value to either $area, $prefix or $line, which is not the phone number value.
$this->_messages = array('Please only use numbers for phone number.');
return false;

// Parent resets the value.
return true;

public function getValue()
if(is_array($this->_value)) {
$value = $this->_value['area'] . '-' .
$this->_value['prefix'] . '-' .

// No value given.
if($value == '--') {
$value = null;

return parent::getValue();

The class is pretty straight forward; it has two methods, getValue and isValid. isValid does the following:

  1. Creates a phone number value of xxx-xxx-xxxx.
  2. Uses parent isValid method to check for blank values (if required)
  3. Checks each part of the phone number to see if only numbers were used.

getValue() just returns the xxx-xxx-xxxx format of the phone number.

Now we need a way to create the actual display of our new element, this is where our view helper comes in:

$name . '[area]',
$areaAttribs) . '-' .
$name . '[prefix]',
$prefixAttribs) . '-' .
$name . '[line]',

This view helper creates 3 textboxes (using FormText view helper) to create the phone number element.

To add the element to a form:

$this->addElement('phoneNumber', 'phone_number', array(
'label' => 'Phone Number',
'validators' => array(
array('NotEmpty', true, array('messages' => 'Please input your phone number.'))
'required' => true,
'class' => 'phonenumber'

Over all, that’s pretty simple. You could use decorators (which I made a post about in one of my first blog postings Creating A Dynamic Grouped Form Element) but that seems to be a little bit more complicated, but I think it does provide more power…

Any way, with this approach you can start building some complex inputs fairly easily.

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