This week's book giveaway is in the Mac OS forum. We're giving away four copies of a choice of "Take Control of Upgrading to Yosemite" or "Take Control of Automating Your Mac" and have Joe Kissell on-line! See this thread for details.
The methods available to check on the status of a web application will depend partly on the servlet container. For example, the Tomcat manager application has some simple commands that will respond to a URL. Your script could access the URL and examine the result.