Cat Hotel Stoney Creek

Cat Hotel Stoney Creek

Ellis and Paul live just north of Auckland. Ellis is a vet, Paul is a photographer: together they have started a cattery, and of course I was very happy to provide a web site for the business.

I chose the Silverstripe CMS, because I was confident that it would cope with the customisation they wanted, making it easy to have pages with different natures, and the content being editable by them without asking me for help.

They did not require a huge amount of content, but they liked my suggestion of an expandable section for Vet advice and anecdotes. A key selling point of the cattery is that Ellis is a vet so the cats get expert care.

Cat Hotel Stoney Creek

Ellis has a fund of stories collected from her experience - in fact secretly she thinks of herself as the new James Herriot. As well as being simply interesting and informative, adding more text to the site will gradually help Google ranking: the site becomes increasingly associated with suitable text, a "larger target" for Google to hit.

Cat Hotel Stoney Creek

The photography on the site is an excellent demonstration of Paul's abilities on close-up images. He also does product and food photography.


Silverstripe Uploads

As usual, I developed the site on my PC then uploaded to the server. The upload didn't go as smoothly as I hoped. First off, on the server, the site would only display the default Silverstripe error page with scant clues about the problem. After a little hunting I realised my mistake: my local PC had all lowercase table names. It derived from a setting I tried last year in MySQL: lower_case_table_names = 1

This was a mistake because when I installed my local Silverstripe base CMS, it created names with all lowercase - but the PHP code continued to use camelcase. This works on Windows, but on the live Linux server, just about every table could not be accessed by the PHP. So I had the dreary job of trudging through every table and renaming them with trusty tool phpMyAdmin. I expect I deserved that punishment, since I had known about this problem but completely forgot again.

The second snag was more subtle: the hosting company is OpenHost, and they have a slightly unusual setting in their PHP installation, called open_basedir.  This is a sensible way of restricting file access to the web tree. But unfortunately it seems to clash with a few intricate details of Silverstripe, causing strange effects on file uploads.

Further upload problems occurred, in which the uploaded file was sent successfully to the server but the page then showed "Http Error". On the web there were several solutions mooted. The one which worked for me was from the venerable Silverstripe advisor, UncleCheese: in uploadify/_config.php, put

and bingo.

Google Ranking

The final task was quite easy, which was to organise a listing in Google "Local Business" or whatever they call it nowadays. It took a few weeks but finally the site is established in Google. And, more importantly, Ellis and Paul are getting customers. If you need good cat care in the Auckland and Northland region, go see Cat Hotel Stoney Creekfor more information.

PHP, Silverstripe
Date: 2012

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