What is it?
Quite simply it's a Client-Server MUDlist system for AberMUDs written in Perl. The server generates a CSV (comma separated values) file every two hours or so and the client downloads this file using HTTP and from it creates a Web page and in INFO file containing a list of MUDS.
Well some time ago I wanted to write a MUDlist script for ElvenMUD and to do this I wanted to make sure I had the most up to date list possible. However as I was looking at various MUDs trying to compile the information I noticed that most of the lists were out of date and very different. I thought it might be easier if there was some centrally administered list that MUDs could download and then display it as they desired by customising the client. It would also be good to try and reduce (or at least help limit further increase) in the amount of MUD polling that currently spams MUD admins like myself with socket opening/closing information.
Politics and MUDs always seem to be a problem, with various people arguing over various things. I want to keep politics way from this MUDlist. I will therefore list ALL AberMUDs that are open to the public. If a MUD has been down for 2 months or more I will it will assume it's down and probably not coming back any time soon and will remove it from the list.
What about MUDs that are not AberMUDs?
This is a difficult one as there are some MUDs that are not "pure" AberMUDs or that are hybrids etc. Rather than trying to make this a "pure" list only I will list a MUD if it is not an AberMUD but it is part of the Aber community (e.g. it's on AberChat, honours Aber frobs) or lists AberMUDs on it's MUD list. I will consider each application separately and will probably consult with other users of this system.
Why use Perl?
Ease of use mainly. Text handling is much easier in Perl than it is in C and it makes configuration easier as you don't have to recompile each time you change something. Since the script will probably set up as a cron job running every couple of hours speed isn't really an issue. I decided to use an "ordinary" script rather than a CGI script because many MUD hosting services do not allow CGI scripts. Perl is also quite portable and I've tried this script without any need for changing it on Windows with ActivePerl as well as on the usual Linux so it should work on most platforms without problem (I haven't tried MacOS, but I'm guessing MacOS X shouldn't be a problem as it's basically Unix, not sure about MacOS 9.x or below though). I used CSV format rather than something like XML as it is more portable (no problem with Perl modules not being installed). If there's enough demand I'd be more than happy to add XML support though.