Speaker Spotlight: PPK

Peter-Paul Koch

A VETERAN of the browser wars, Peter-Paul Koch (better known as PPK) has made the mobile web his passion over the past few years, doing more in-depth testing, analysis, and writing about standards and the mobile web than perhaps anyone else on the planet. He also founded Fronteers, the Dutch association of front-end professionals, and will speak at AEA Seattle this coming April.

Q. What’s the main takeaway from your talk?

Touch events are a new class of events, and require a separate interaction designing process. Although it may seem that they’re pretty much the same as the mouse events, except that they work with touches, they’re not, really. There are a few fundamental differences (touch interaction is not the same as mouse interaction), and a few more differences due to browser implementations (the touchmove event, for instance, continues firing when a mousemove event would stop).

All this sounds pretty complicated, but it isn’t, really. You just have to know a few basic rules, and then you’re ready to roll your own touchscreen interfaces. Come to my Seattle session to learn more.

Q. What’s a useful tip or trick you’ve learned in the last few months?

The fact that you can decide, per touch event on a case-by-case basis, whether to handle the event in your script, or send it on to the OS to be processed. For instance, if you have a horizontal flick-scroller, any horizontal touch movement should be handled by your script, but vertical movement should be sent on to the OS for normal processing: i.e. scrolling the page.

Q. What professional websites are you visiting most these days?

Mostly sites that monitor the mobile ecosystem as a whole, such as Asymco, Communities Dominate Brands, Vision Mobile, WAP Review, and Mobile Industry Review.

I would love to visit more tech-oriented sites about mobile, but it turns out most of the tips and tricks are stuff that I already know, or heavily focused on libraries, which I don’t use. So general information it is – for now.

Q. Tell us something we don’t know about you.

I’m a historian originally, and have an excellent knowledge of (Western-)European and classical history. Back in the day one drinking game my friends and I played was that they’d give me a year, and I’d tell them what happened in that year.

Meanwhile I’ve lost some of my knowledge (for instance, I’ve lost the ability to name all 12th-century emperors of Germany in order with regnal years), but I continue to read a lot of history. Currently I focus on the Roman Republic and Dutch political history since 1848. (And to be clear: these two subjects have absolutely nothing to do with each other.)