One of the things that I do for the FindMUD mud listings is check connections once in a while (approximately monthly) to see if a MUD server is running and then display a log of connection attempts on that MUD’s listing page.
When I was on shared hosting, that was a process that was far more involved than it should have been.
Step 1: Get a list of currently active mud listings to query. For that I created a custom hidden view in Drupal that I could copy and paste into my connection test app.
Step 2: Run the connection tests. I wrote an app specifically to do this by checking telnet connections to each MUD on the list. If would generate two sets of SQL queries. The first contained the connection results, while the second contained any changes to IP addresses. I called the executable file “Pizdook”, which is a scathing insult used in Orson Scott Card’s Homecoming series of novels. It represented my annoyance at having a multi-step process due to the limitations of using shared hosting. Here’s a screenshot:
Step 3: Log into PHPMyAdmin and paste the queries generated by Pizdook into the “execute SQL” window to update the database.
Thanks to some new-found knowledge of SQLAlchemy, I’ve rewritten the app as a Python script that I can run with a monthly cron job. Suddenly it’s hands-off, a single-step automated process that I no longer have to spend any effort on.