Mobilism 2012

May 15, 2012 4 min read

I spent Thursday and Friday of last week in Amsterdam, NL, attending the second Mobilism, a conference that deals with one specific topic, but that in great detail: The mobile web (if you don’t like that term: The web for mobile devices). It took a couple of days to reflect on everything that happened there, but I wanted to share my thoughts about that conference with you.

The talks

Many of the bigger conferences have several tracks filled with sessions. I totally hate it when there are two or more talks at the same time and I would like to see all of them. Feels like paying for the whole conference and only seeing parts of it. Anyway, Mobilism is different, because there is only one track with presentations and you can attend all of them (woot). Hopefully, this will stay the same next year (if there is a Mobilism next year).

Just like last year, the organizers managed to gather a awesome group of speakers, presenting a wide variety of topics. There were technical talks showing examples of tools for debugging mobile web applications and how to deal with the application cache to be able to use web applications offline. Some of the talks were more abstract, dealing, for example, with the context of usage of web applications and what to take into consideration when transfering content from big desktop screens to small screens with varying dimensions and resolutions.

One personal highlight was the talk by Seb Lee-Delisle, who did some kind of live experiment in which the whole audience could participate. In short, everyone in the audience with a smartphone or tablet was asked to hold their device up, with the front of the device facing the stage. A camera, positioned on stage and recording the audience would then identify each device, and a software on his laptop combined all the devices into one huge canvas, which Seb used to draw images and animations on. Pretty cool!

All in all, the talks were very good, but as a developer, I would have preferred to hear some more technical talks. Anyway, I’m not complaining at all…


Over the past few years, I have been to a couple of conferences all over Europe and Mobilism is, in my eyes, one of the best organized conferences there is. From the moment you enter the venue, you know what is happening where. Actually, even before the conference starts, there are emails and tweets with all the details about the conference as well as information about social events.

The name tag you get during registration is actually a session plan that has some additional information on it like a small city map. During the whole conference, there was an announcer, announcing tracks and pauses and who guided through the whole conference. At no point during the two days did I felt lost, disoriented or wondered what will happen next and where will it happen. Great job by the whole organisation team.

Most conferences offer a wireless network for Internet access, but as soon as more than, let’s say, 50 people try to access it, it crashes. Not at Mobilism. The WiFi was flawless even during pauses when many people used it at once. Again, great job.


Mobilism took place at Pathè Tuschinski, which is actually a cinema right in the center of Amsterdam. A fantastic venue for such an event. To be honest, when I looked at the facade for the first time, my first thought was that this must be the set for the next Tim Burton movie, or something like Batman’s private cinema cave. If you are in Amsterdam, go see a movie there (in Zaal 1, the big room), I think it will be worth your while.

In the evening, there was a social event at De Bierfabriek, which, you guessed right, serves beer. And food, of course. I had a pretty nice evening there, talking to some people I haven’t seen for a while.

What’s next

After two conferences in two weeks, I actually need to get some work done. Next conference is scheduled for September in Frankfurt/Main, Germany, where I will probably hold a talk by myself (probably speaking about some cool JavaScript stuff, let’s see).