Checkboxes Not Showing in the Backend of a Joomla 1.5 Website

Very early in the morning today, a new client sent us the following email:


We have a Joomla 1.5 website that has been working well for a long time. Yesterday, our host decided to upgrade PHP, which resulted in the following problem on our website: checkboxes are no longer visible anywhere in the backend of our Joomla website. We used these checkboxes to select articles (in the Article Manager) for deletion – but now we can’t delete articles this way anymore.

Is there a fix that does not involve reverting to an earlier version of PHP?”

When we read the email, we quickly remembered our post on the hidden menu manager issue in Joomla 1.5, which is also caused by a PHP upgrade.

So, naturally, the first thing that we did was that we enabled error reporting on the Joomla 1.5 website, and then we went to the Content -> Article Manager page where we were greeted with the following 2 errors (repeated about 20 times):

Warning: Parameter 1 to JHTMLGrid::access() expected to be a reference, value given in libraries/joomla/html/html.php on line 87
Warning: Parameter 1 to JHTMLGrid::checkedOut() expected to be a reference, value given in libraries/joomla/html/html.php on line 87

Aha! So the root cause of the problem was very similar to the root cause of the “hidden menu items issue”: it was an expected reference but value given issue. So fixing the problem was actually very easy; all we did was the following:

  • We opened the file grid.php which is located under the libraries/joomla/html/html folder.
  • We changed the following line:

    function checkedOut( &$row, $i, $identifier = 'id' )


    function checkedOut($row, $i, $identifier = 'id' )

  • We also changed this line:

    function access( &$row, $i, $archived = NULL )

    to this one:

    function access($row, $i, $archived = NULL )

    Notice the missing ampersand (&) from the second, correct line.

  • We saved the file and then refreshed the Article Manager page, and this time, all the checkboxes displayed and worked properly, and all it took was the removal of an ampersand (well, two ampersands, but you get the point)!

But isn’t that a core change?

Yes – the solution presented in this post is a core change, but it’s Joomla 1.5, which will never ever get an official update, so who cares? In fact, we think that modifying Joomla 1.5’s core is a must for those seeking security and stability but cannot afford to migrate to the newest version of Joomla.

If you have the same problem on your Joomla 1.5 website, then try our solution above, it should work for you! If it doesn’t, then please contact us. We will help you fix the problem quickly, cleanly, and affordably!

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