How Joomla generates passwords for registration

If you need to generate a Joomla friendly password within your Joomla component, then use the following function:

private function generatePassword($pw)
     $salt = JUserHelper::genRandomPassword(32);
     $crypted = JUserHelper::getCryptedPassword($pw, $salt);
     $password = $crypted.':'.$salt;
     return $password;

Simply pass in the password the user has chosen to return an encrypted password that you can store in a database, recognisable by the standard Joomla login system.  The function will return a Joomla password.

If you wish to generate a random password rather than rely on user’s submission, try this:

$pw = substr(md5(rand()), 0, 7); //7 character random string - courtesy of

Add or remove items in the Joomla breadcrumb system

As I’m sure you’re aware, the Joomla breadcrumb / pathway is built from the nested menu structure of your current page.  If you’ve developed a page that is not linked up in the menu, or want to edit the pathway for any reason, try this snippet:

//this returns the pathway object for manipulating
$pathway = JFactory::getApplication()->getPathway();  
//append item on the end of the pathway - first argument for the name, the second (optional) for a link
//append just a name to the pathway
$pathway->addItem('Hello hello');

When adding an item to the pathway with a link, note that the link will automatically be JRouted to give you lovely SEF URLs – perfect!

Modifying items in the breadcrumb trail

So you want modify page names or links listed in the pathway but not sure how? This section of code shows you two ways on how to achieve this (description below):

//get the JApplication object for this session
$app = JFactory::getApplication();
//get the pathway object of the current page
$pathway = $app->getPathway();

//this function returns the array of pathway objects, allowing you to modify it
$pathwayarray = $pathway->getPathway();
//this will update the link for the first element in the pathway (the 'home' element is not included - it must always be there)
$pathwayarray[0]->link = 'index.php?Itemid=999';

//Then use setPathway to update the breadcrumbs with your modified path!

//you can also update pathway names using the built-in function setItemName:
//this will update the first element in the pathway with the title 'New title'
$pathway->setItemName(0,'New title');

Hopefully this is fairly self-explanatory.

Resetting the Joomla Pathway

Sometimes rather than editing the pathway, you might want to remove it entirely and start again.  This is easy, just set the pathway as we did before, but to an empty array.  Then continue to add items to the pathway to build your own!

//get the JApplication object for this session
$app = JFactory::getApplication();
//get the pathway object of the current page
$pathway = $app->getPathway();
//set the pathway to an empty array, to reset it
//add items to the pathway as desired - remember the links will automatically be JRouted, giving you nice SEF URLs
$pathway->addItem('Category listing','index.php?Itemid=493');

The code above will give you a pathway of Category listing > Cars > Mazda, with links where a second parameter is given of course.

For more information on the pathway object, see the Joomla documentation.

How to limit text with or without the Joomla Framework

We’ll start with Joomla. If you need to limit a string to a specified character count then why not use Joomla’s built in functions.  The advantage of using Joomla’s truncate function over standard PHP functions is that Joomla will not cut up words – it keeps words whole, only limiting the block of text at a space closest to the limit specified.

How to use Joomla Truncate()

echo JHTML::_('string.truncate', $text_to_truncate, $character_limit);

Note that the function also adds three dots (…) to the end of the sentence – if you’re not a fan of this, see below…

How to truncate and preserve words outside of Joomla

Of course, you might not be using Joomla and need to limit characters without cutting up words.  In which case, here is a function for doing so:

function truncate($text, $length = 0, $end='...')
// Truncate the item text if it is too long.
if ($length > 0 && strlen($text) > $length)
// Find the first space within the allowed length.
$tmp = substr($text, 0, $length);
$tmp = substr($tmp, 0, strrpos($tmp, ' '));

// If we don't have 3 characters of room, go to the second space within the limit.
if (strlen($tmp) >= $length - 3) {
$tmp = substr($tmp, 0, strrpos($tmp, ' '));

$text = $tmp.$end;
return $text;

It’s the function Joomla uses, with built-in Joomla functions swapped out for standard PHP functions – so it can be used in any PHP application!  Thanks to the Joomla development team for this one.

I’ve also added in an optional third parameter that allows you to specify the text at the end.  The default is set to ‘…’, but you can pass in anything you like, even a read more link:

echo truncate ($text_to_truncate, 100, " - <a href='' target='_blank'>Read more</a>");

The above will output your text, limited to 100 characters (without splitting up words in the process) and give a ‘Read more’ hyperlink at the end.

If you have any questions or need further information, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

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