(1982-88) The newly emerging interactive online industries had to build a large number of pages that could be updated easily, were platform independent, and retained some “meta-information” intelligence about themselves.

We didn’t really have many standards in the interactive industry just yet, so I invented my own data-tagging system:  sort of a homebrew combination of HTML, CSS, Tagging and Templates.

The Challenges

During the “first wave” of online interactivity in the 1980’s it became clear that Interactivity must handle 4 jobs:


Global HTML-like “tags” to identify and control coherent page elements and stylesheets


Information “placeholders” to allow easy updating of graphically sophisticated pages


Flexibly-defined “info hooks” so that data could be easily manipulated by software engines


Platform-independent “identifiers” so that information could be delivered in a range of formats

Metadata tagging is Information Architecture

The separation of data Content from presentational Context allows us to provide Content Integration through Context Management.

Design Tools

Here are the products which The Communication Studio put on the market to support the “first wave” of interactive services in the US between 1984 and 1988.

Context Management System : TextUp

  • This productivity tool lets you quickly edit graphically sophisticated pages through a simple Template and Clip Art-driven design tool.

Interactive Database : Environment

  • This fully-featured site platform is targeted as a standalone self-service information “kiosk” that can be updated online.

Page Presenter : Show

  • This billboard presentation manager lets you create, edit and present a slideshow on any computergraphic device.

Code Disassembler : EDNA

  • This technical tool displays the underlying code of a NAPLPS computergraphic file with referential annotation.

Clip Art : Image Library

  • Our Clip Art imagery was specifically designed for use with TextUp templates.

Automated Page Formatter : OTTO

  • This software page generator engine takes a “bare bones” simple text file, automatically reformats the data in it into graphic pages.


These were some early software concepts that The Communication Studio prototyped, but never fully marketed during the “first wave” of interactivity in the early-to-mid 80’s.

John Vaughan & Bill Porter (1983)

John Vaughan and Bill Porter in the TCS tech loft (1983)

Some of the dreamware concepts were kind of forward-looking. 

Smart Art : Phoenix

  • Screen Designer featuring Automated Field Labeling. This was to be the “next step” for the TextUp suite of productivity tools. Pretty sweet – especially this early on the curve.

See / Hear : Midi Vidi 


  • Manage presentational attributes modularly and dynamically through structured systemic control.

Fun & Games

  • The graphical sophistication and inherent animation of early interactive platforms in the US – lent themselves particularly well to gaming.

Our Software Clients

These organizations licensed TCS productivity software between 1984-1990:  Before the Web and during the Transitional Surge

Citibank “CitiVision”

  • Corporate Staff Services Intranet and Public Kiosk

IBM Corporation

  • Internal usage, productivity consulting, China Comm 84, Prodigy

Indiana University

  • Page creation for campus info system


  • Direct in-store marketing and Cable TV ad channel

NYNEX Information Resources

  • Publishing tool for Electronic Yellow Pages & online advertising

NYNEX Computer Services

  • Electronic signage billboard for convention Center

Pacific Bell “Info-Pac”

  • Home information system

Pacific Bell “CareerWise”

  •   Internal corporate business systems

Prime Computer

  • Publishing “front end” for mainframe systems

Sony Corporation

  • Page creation tool for videodisk integration

Telerate SportsTicker Plus

  • Billboarding tools for electronic signage

Trintex (Prodigy)

  • Publishing support for online consumer service

London (UK) Docklands Development

  • Public access kiosk

National Bureau of Standards

  • Assessment of interactive standards

Sheridan College

  • College interactive billboard

Herman Hospital IFCD

  • Hospital public & private info systems




© The Communication Studio LLC