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Vitaly Friedman's Notebook: About my life, my work and my source of creativity

About my life, my work and my source of creativity
  » Oct 31, 09:45 PM

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To be honest, when someone asks me about myself, I really – really – hate it, because there is too much to describe about my life, the changes in my life and my view of the future which lies in front of me. So when Marko Mihelcic has asked me about the interview for his new site (nice AJAX navigation menu, by the way), I sighed, took a deep breath and forgot about the e-mail for a week. However, it didn’t take much time until I just couldn’t resist my curiosity. The result – this interview, posted on, together with the interviews of web gurus – i.e. Shaun Inman.

Marko: Hello Vitaly! Nice to do this interview with you!:)

Vitaly: Hi, Marko! ;) Well, it’s always nice to find out that someone is actually interested in what I am doing and who I am.

Marko: How are you doing these days?

Vitaly: Quite good. Although it could definitely be better, you know, studying, working, studying, working, working, studying, sleeping… sometimes…

Marko: For our reader’s could you tell something about yourself? (year old and other stuff)

Vitaly: As you can read from my homepage, I am 20 years old, I study mathematics and computer science in the Saarland University (, Germany, I used to be a freelancing journalist, now I am a freelancing web-designer and web-developer, and, of course, a student.

Marko: When did you first encounter a keyboard or computer?

Vitaly: Oh, mighty God… Well, it definitely was a looooong time ago. Back in 1993-1995 I used to play Larry, Pre2, Lines and Prince of Persia… I guess I am just not able to answer this question correctly. It was a LONG time ago.

Marko:What is your favorite art work/website!?

Vitaly: I don’t think I have a favourite one. However, I always enjoy visiting beautiful and simple web-sites. One of the most unusual and beautiful web-sites I’ve found recently is Leo Burnett’s portfolio ( is an interesting concept, too. I am looking forward to see what it will develop to.

Marko: when you launched are you happy with the result of the site?

Vitaly: The first (of four versions) of was launched in the beginning of April 2004. Back then, I didn’t even think about creating Web Developer’s Handbook or any projects whatsoever, which would attract hundreds of thousands of people. Till today, over 300.000 users have visited or other projects on my server. I am definitely happy with the result of the site, for it helped me to gather the knowledge from people I was honored to get to know and their works. Besides, I am able to share my knowledge and my experience with other web-developers the way I wasn’t able before. The time I spent on was worth it.

Marko: What do you do in your spare time (I do realize that spare time, in this context, is pretty relative)?

Vitaly: Well, to be honest, web-development is now rather a hobby than a work for me. Since I am studying mathematics and computer science, I’d like to focus on programming and software engineering. Besides, I am jogging every Saturday, I am reading a lot, but I am not a lazy-freak-kind-of-person, I do go to the parties sometimes, I like to meet new people, particularly from other parts of the world.

Marko: Do you have a favorite drink? How much of it do you drink?

Vitaly: Emm…. A good question, Marko, really good one. Well, I guess… hmm… pear juice and mineral water. :)

Marko: Would you care to give us a brief overview of what a typical day is like for Vitaly Friedman?

Vitaly: There is no typical day in my life. I try to be spontaneous and enjoy every moment the life is giving to me. Indeed, life is too short. However, I learn a lot, and particularly over the last 4-5 weeks I’ve got so much stuff to do that I am not living for me, but for my future. I guess I should partly change that.

Marko: Who are some of your biggest influences?

Vitaly: I don’t like the idea of having an idol or people who really influenced my life. Well, maybe, Socrates, Plato, Descartes…

Marko: Is your background in coding? What was the progression into web development like? How did that take place and why?

Vitaly: Well, I am developing web-sites since summer 1999, so there wasn’t a real progression into web-development. I just do what I like. And if I enjoy doing it, I definitely enjoy liking it. ;)

Marko: If you where not a designer/programmer what would you be?

Vitaly: A writer. Definitely. Absolutely.

Marko: How do you like our site

Vitaly: The only thing I hate on the page is the counter on the right sidebar. : But in common – simple, nice font, but maybe to much of that font.

Marko: What kind of music do you fancy?

Vitaly: :) All kind of music, actually. It depends on the mood I am having.

Marko: What’s your favorite food?

Vitaly: Emm…. Hungarian Gulasch and fish, all kind of fish.

Marko: Where do you get out on Saturday’s?

Vitaly: Hmm… Atomic Club, maybe ;)

Marko: Do you have a girlfriend?

Vitaly: No, but…

Marko: some relaxing question to follow

Marko: Chinese or Thai (food)?

Vitaly: Italian. :)

Marko: Coke or Pepsi?

Vitaly: Coke

Marko: html or xml?

Vitaly: XML!

Marko: Do you watch television? If so, do you have a favorite show?

Vitaly: Oh, there are so many… Pick one: Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000-?)

Felicity (1998-2002)

Frasier (1993-2004)

Just Shoot Me (1993-2004)

Seinfeld (1989-2000)

Two Guys and A Girl (1993-2004)

Marko: What would we find in your favorites bookmarks-bar?

Vitaly: A List Apart, Stylegala, Web-Developer’s Handbook and some private stuff.

Marko: What kinda stuff are you doing/eating while writing code!?

Vitaly: Everythin I eat normally.

Marko: Why can’t I find any normal picture on your site? :)

Vitaly: You will. Soon. :)

Marko: What inspires you? This doesn’t have to be design related.

Vitaly: The beauty of nature. You can’t imagine how much inspiration you can get from the simplest things which surround you!

Marko: Thank again for having this interview, cheers m8!

Vitaly: No problem, good luck with you web-project, Marko! ;)

Marko: Thanks very much m8!

  » Blog, Web-development @ Oct 31, 09:45 PM


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