We've now used CI to build some very sophisticated tools for our website, which give it some significant functionality.

Firstly, we used CI's FTP class to simplify and automate file transfer operations. Initially, we've just used this class to check that the files we expect to find on our site are actually there, and that noting unexpected has been added. This in itself is a valuable check, as many of the problems websites throw at you involve unexpected alterations of files, usually by site admins but sometimes by hackers. This function will check regularly. The CI FTP class also offers the possibility of remote maintenance and updating of sites.

Then we looked at developing our own private 'web services' using CI's XML-RPC classes. These allow us automatically to call functions on a remote site, pass in parameters if necessary, and have the results returned to us—just as if we'd been logged on to the remote site instead of to our test site. We used this to have the remote site optimize a table in its database, and report back to us. Once again, we've gone beyond our original plan of simply monitoring the remote sites. Now we are able to instruct them to check or optimize themselves as well.

Lastly, we looked at the CI email class, which allows our testing site to generate emails. The CI code is extremely simple to use, and means that our site can notify us whenever it thinks there is a problem. CI makes it simple to build and send an email, and even to send attachments.

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