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Displaying first X words from database?

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I have been trying to find a tutorial on how to display the first X words from a database entry, like google does with search "..."'s
[!--quoteo--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE[/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor
PHP is a server-side HTML embedded scripting language. It provides web developers
with a full suite of tools for building dynamic websites: native APIs to ...

How can this be acheived?

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Feel free to copy/paste.

function trimString($str, $newlength) {
if (strlen($str) > $newlength) {
$newlengthwithdots = $newlength - 3;
$newstring = substr($str, 0, $newlengthwithdots);
$newstring .= "...";
} else {
$newstring = $str;
return $newstring;

Sorry if the indent is confusing, I'm not sure how to indent on these forums.

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