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A simple helper for use in a Joomla Template to help centralise logic that gets used in several parts of a template, and provide helpers to make accessing Item data easier.
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Joomla ItemHelper

This Joomla ItemHelper is used in template overrides to make some common actions much easier (and help centralise some repetitive logic so that we don't have to copy and paste certain code over and over again).

This is aimed at developers who create their own templates for Joomla, and are comfortable working with PHP.

How to use ItemHelper

Within the override PHP file, you need to include the ItemHelper. I put it in my template's folder, under a folder called helpers. You can place it where you like, but just remember to update the path below.

$app  = JFactory::getApplication();
$path = JPATH_THEMES . DIRECTORY_SEPARATOR . $app->getTemplate() . DIRECTORY_SEPARATOR . 'helpers' . DIRECTORY_SEPARATOR . 'ItemHelper.php';
JLoader::register('ItemHelper', $path);

To run the magic, then simply call ItemHelper's process method, passing in your item - such as $this->item or $item, depending on the override type you're working with.


This will update your item, and not override any

Custom Fields

Custom Fields have been in Joomla 3 since 3.7, and are incredibly powerful and flexible.

But accessing the Custom Fields at the override level is a little repetitive - and if we need it in multiple overrides, that can be a lot of code replication.

Centralising this processing of Custom Fields makes it easier to include in multiple overrides, but keep the core processing logic in one place.

Processing Custom Fields

The ItemHelper's process method will look at your item's Custom Fields, and create a new array called jcfieldsnames.

Accessing a Custom Field

After the processing, you can iterate over $this->item->jcfieldsnames like any other array.

Alternatively, some helper functions have been created that make it easy for you to get a Custom Field's:

  • label
  • group ID
  • options (for Field Types that have options)
  • value

These helpers will return the property, or false if not found.

To get a specific field's value, use getFieldValue. This can return a string for single selections, or array for multiple (such as checkboxes).

ItemHelper::getFieldValue($this->item, 'my-field');

To get a specific field's label, use getFieldLabel.

ItemHelper::getFieldLabel($this->item, 'my-field');

To get a specific field's Field Group ID, use getFieldGroupId.

ItemHelper::getFieldGroupId($this->item, 'my-field');

To get a specific field's options, use getFieldOptions. This only applies to Field Types that use options, such as List or Checkboxes. Other Field Types will return an empty array.

ItemHelper::getFieldOptions($this->item, 'my-field');


The truncate function makes it easy for you to truncate a string of your item to a specific number of characters, and keep whole words in the process.

Just call the truncate function, pass a string to truncate, and an optional number of characters to aim for:

ItemHelper::truncate($this->item->introtext, 120);

Requests or issues

If you're having any issues working with the ItemHelper, start a new issue in this repository.

Any requests for specific field type handling can be added there too.

Need a Joomla expert? I work for Mity Digital, a Melbourne-based web design and development agencey. We love working with Joomla - come and say hello!

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