Who is Peter-Paul Koch?
Web developer, browser tester, teacher, explaining the mobile web to the masses, historian, conference speaker and organiser, curator of Quirksmode.
Where and when did you start programming?
In 1988 my then-roommate took his Commodore 64 with him, and I taught myself Basic. I had ambitious plans for a more-or-less interactive text-based adventure game, and managed to fill the entire 64K memory with it before I’d even started on the interactive bits. This project taught me a lot about how not to create large programs. I found that I overused the GOTO statement – to put it mildly.
I will have to learn some SQL basics for testing client-side storage in the browsers, but that prospect fills me with trepidation and I always find a good reason for postponing it.
How do you find idea inspiration for a new project?
It just pops into my head. All of a sudden I get an idea that might be worth pursuing. Usually it then stays in waiting mode for several months, because I can’t handle too many things at one time. Then, if I still like the idea, I put it into practice.
Of course, the coolest thing is a client offering to pay you for something you already wanted to do anyway. That happens occasionally.
What does your typical day look like?
Coffee, mails, check my current for-hire projects and work on one of them. Read some feeds, follow Twitter, some more mail, some more projects. And that assumes I don’t have appointments. Or a conference to prepare.
I am known for skipping any of those steps if I feel like it. I don’t really have a typical day.
What do you do in your free time?
Hang out with friends, read history, do some browser tests I didn’t have time for during my working hours, and explain Dutch politics to those twelve foreigners that are interested.
And I’m part-owner of a really cool country cottage that I love to go to in some weekends. Very relaxing, even though I’ve added an Internet connection recently.
Current favorite apps?
My favourites change by the day, but at the moment of writing it’s Twitterific.
What OS do you prefer?
Windows. Somehow I never got used to Mac OS X, although I loved Mac Classic. Recently upgraded to Windows 7, and I like it so far.
Favorite: Browser, Color, Font, Language, JS Framework?
The question “What’s your favourite browser?” is one I love. I regularly get it at conferences, and I always see it as evidence I’m doing my work well. If nobody can figure out what my favourite browser is from reading my site, it means I’m being truly neutral – as I’m supposed to be.
My favourite used to be Firefox, but recently I’ve become displeased with its slowness and its lack of progress in simple things, like supporting the contains() method. So now I’m drifting, browser-wise. Bit of Chrome, bit of Firefox, bit of Opera.
I’m very enthusiastic about IE9 so far, though. Who knows, the final version might even become my default browser.
Name something that has inspired you recently?
The huge advances all browsers (including IE) made in CSS3 support. There’s quite a bit of tricks that can be used throughout the web, and one of my jobs is to make that clear to the average web developer.
What do you prefer (and why)? Freelance work or full time employment?
Definitely freelance. I can’t work for a boss any more; I want to set my own times and priorities. I’m not really the entrepeneur type, so I doubt whether I’ll ever found an agency, but my definite life goal is to have no boss ever any more.
What are your personal projects and goals for 2010?
Learn to handle two touchscreen phones with one hand. Would be an awesome conference trick – if it’s possible at all, which I doubt at the moment.
And find the time to do dozens of cool things that are in my head but I haven’t created yet.
And organise another conference, this time about mobile.