Now that's one fine looking user interface IMHO! :tup:
Hmmmm, 3.7 the last? SitePoint only fairly recently upgraded to version 3.8.5 And I'm not sure when they'll be upgrading to 4.
It might be true that writing a vBulletin plugin would be more appropriate. If you know of any legal, free open-source API documentation please let me know. I'd love to get my hands on the code.
I suppose there are many reasons to not write a Private Message utility application that can run on someones computer's localhost server, but that's what this contest is about. Not about writing a desktop application or a plugin of one type or another. But don't go away, those are good ideas for a future contest.
To me, I think of Linux and Windows (and Mac) as Operating Systems not servers like PWS, IIS, Apache, Mongrel, etc. I guess whatever server you have installed on your computer is the logical choice. Just be sure to mention it in your System Requirements if it's actually a requirement.
@1 The exported filetypes are Text, CSV, and XML so the application would need to be able to work with at least one of those. And it also needs to be able to work with any new files it creates. I suppose it could for example read the original XML files, save selected messages in a myNewFile.XYZ and be able to work with myNewFile.XYZ again later - if that's what you mean. My thinking is that if it's going to read say, CSV, then it would make sense to save them as CSV as well. But if you can think of a better format to save/read new files in, I don't see any problem with that.
If you mean how they're displayed, no, it doesn't need to look like how they're displayed here at SitePoint. For example, the PHP aoo I wrote (so far) doesn't convert bbCode tags to HTML tags. So it doesn't have to, but if you want it to that's a Bonus Point.
@2 What I had in mind was my being able to do something like open privatemessages-SampleMember-Jul 11, 2010.txt and look for all PMs I sent to OtherMember. In the app I wrote, matching messages are displayed in a table and I can select multiple individual messages or all of them. Then I can create and save a new file, say to-OtherMember-Aug 4, 2010.txt that will have those messages. But I suppose if you wanted to have a "direct-save" that skipped the viewing you could do that instead/too. Heaven knows not every application does things the way I would think they could be done and they're perfectly fine.
@WRT What I mean by "localhost" is a server installed on a user's computer, like PWS, - Apache as it comes with XAMPP, WAMP - Mongrel as it comes with the "one-click", etc. not a live shared host. By "typical", the intent is that the application not require any further installation process. Ideally the application should be able to be downloaded and run as is. Although as mentioned earlier, if special already-installed components need to be enabled having instructions in a README should be fine.
As far as trust levels, I guess it's fairly safe to assume the one using the app will be the one that downloaded it. But Secure Access is a Bonus Point, so no harm adding that if you think it's prudent to do so.