This paper describes ActiveText, a method for
creating dynamic and interactive texts. ActiveText uses an object-based
hierarchy to represent texts. This hierarchy makes it easy to work
with the ASCII component and pixel component of the text at the
same time. Static, dynamic and interactive properties of text can
be easily intermixed and layered. The user can enter and edit text,
adjust static and dynamic layout, apply dynamic and interactive
behaviors, and adjust their parameters with a common set of tools
and a common interface. Support for continuous editing allows the
user to sketch dynamically. A prototype application called It's
Alive! has been implemented to explore the ActiveText functionality.
The documents produced by It's Alive! can be of use in a wide-range
of areas, including chat-spaces, email, web-sites, fiction and poetry
writing, and low-end film & video titling.