In a continuation of his previous blog post about complex pages in a Zend Framework, Pádraic Brady dives a little deeper into the View Helper design pattern he started looking at before.
So what is the problem? Anytime a partial View needs extra data (the View's Model) it needs to push calls to extra Controllers (following the current practice for the framework) in order to get that Model. This involves yet another complete dispatch cycle, with any number of classes, plugins, and operations involved. Yet in most cases this is completely unnecessary - why not just let the View request data from the Model directly?
He talks more about what the Helper is, where it sits, and a simple example - inside a blog application - where a Helper can be used to consume and display a remote RSS feed. He even includes the sample code that can make it all happen.