Who is Christoph Hochstrasser?
I’m a Web Developer at IWA-Tech mainly working on Talenthouse.com. I live in Gaflenz, Austria and I’m enjoying being a Fire Fighter as well as working on Open Source. One of my more popular projects is “php-build” which is used to provide the PHP support for Travis-CI. It enables almost everyone to build the latest and greatest PHP versions from source.
What does your typical day look like?
I get up at 6am in the morning (most of the time ;-) ), grab some breakfast with black coffee and then I make my way to commute to the office which is located in Linz, Austria.
Luckily there’s WiFI on the Train, so I read what’s new on Twitter and on Google Reader, or I work on some of my Open Source projects.
At work we use Software Kanban, so the first thing to do in the morning is to look at our Board and see what is left to do. Our Product Owner is located in Palo Alto, CA so we have quite some time difference (9 hours). Due to this, the second thing to do in the morning is to catch up on the issues the Product Owner added overnight.
We also have a shared Skype channel where we share all kinds of links, like funny videos or links to interesting projects with each other.
At 10 am we as a team make a 15 minute standup meeting, where we plan what we do today.
At noon (almost) the whole team goes to take some lunch together.
I make my way to commuting home at 5 pm or 6 pm. My experience is that it’s not worth it to throw long hours at a problem. It’s better to go home earlier and take some good sleep. Most problems are solved in fractions of the time, if you tackle them when you are well rested and fully alert, instead of doing long hours.
When I’m at home from work, I devote my time to either playing some games (recently Minecraft and Battlefield 3) or do some more work on some of my Open Source projects.
What do you do in your free time?
I care much about the craft of Web Development and Software Engineering so I try to learn to do it better and constantly advance my skill set. I’m doing this through reading books (lately “The Icon Handbook” and “The Mythical Man Month”) or working on Open Source software.
I also often tweak the design of my homepage, designing Print Media for friends and family or doing some Icon Design.
I love to make other people’s lifes easier by making tools which are useful (like “php-build”). It’s a really awesome feeling, when someone other finds something you created, useful for himself and his work.
I’m also using my free time to serve as Fire Fighter in our city’s volunteer fire brigade, to help people.
Where and when did you start programming?
I first started programming with BASIC in secondary school where we did some simple graphics drawing and sounds. Then I wen to a HTL for Electrical Engineering (a kind of high school which is specialized on technical topics) where I came in touch with C for programming embedded systems.
Later on I was faced with a web site to make, and then I discovered PHP and instantly fell in love with it, because of it’s dynamic nature and because it enables web development that just works. This was about 6 years ago and I’ve constantly advanced my PHP skills since then from doing messy procedural PHP to working with MVC frameworks.
Favorite: Programming Languages, Frameworks?
I really like PHP, but recently I also discovered the simplicity of Go as a system programming language. My framework of choice is Zend Framework, but nowadays I’m mixing and matching Zend Framework components with Symfony Components.
One of the tools I could not live without anymore is definitely Composer. It makes it really easy to create libraries and allows it to easily drop them into any project.
What OS do you prefer?
I was long time a Fedora user, but since I have a MacBook Air my favorite OS is OSX, because it combines a usable OS with the power of Unix under the hood. Though I’ve still got to accustom myself with all the differences between BSD and GNU Coreutils.
Current favorite apps?
As text editor I use mainly MacVIM. Since Spotify is available in Austria I’m using it very extensively to listen to music at work and on my phone. It’s incredible to have _all_ of music at your fingertips. Sparrow is my favorite mail client, because it’s so fast to get your mails done with it.
Small picture for your Workplace?
Name something that has inspired you recently?
The Icon Handbook by Jon Hicks is the most inspiring book I’ve read to date. It’s really well designed and worth checking out if you’re into Icon Design.
What do you prefer? Freelance work or full time employment?
Currently I’m preferring being employed, but I’m thinking about starting something of my own at the side. I think there’re some really valuable things I’ve learned while being employed, like how to communicate within a team. Things you can’t really learn when you work all on your own.
What are your goals for 2012?
My long time goal is to contribute to the PHP project. I’m thinking about writing some RFCs about things that I care about. Speaking at a conference is also one of my goals for 2012. I also would really like to get some of projects to stable releases.