Hi Nealec, glad to see you're still at it
I think this would be suited to the str_len
function. I say think because i don't know how it handles large texts from mysql etc.
The following worked well for me when i ran it through my code tester - change the 10 to 600:
$Test = 'teslkjlfgjg oigjsd ofjslfjsdfjsdlfjsdiofjslk nslkfj lsdkfj sdlfjdlskf jk';
if (strlen($Test) > 10)
print substr($Test, 0, 10);