secure chat environment

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For my next project (hobby, not homework), I need to make / download /
adapt / buy a chat room. I want it to have the following features:

- username/password registration
- private messaging in separate windows

And most critically...

- absolutely nothng to do with sql (my host doesn't allow it unless I
pay silly money).

I have found a number of solutions using sql, but none without. Is there
a simple way to adapt these to use flat text files instead of sql?

In general, what would be the way to convert a sql-based php app into a
text file based one? What does an sql call look like, and what would teh
equivalent text file call be?

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