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What is Bubble.io? your guide to the top no-code platform

What is Bubble.io? your guide to the top no-code platform

Bubble is a robust tool in the no-code application development space, facilitating the development of detailed web and mobile applications without the need for deep coding expertise. In this guide, we'll cover how Bubble works, its features, alternative options, scalability, use cases, cost considerations, pros and cons, security measures, integrations, and address common user questions. Let's dive in!

What is Bubble.io?

Bubble.io is a no-code app builder that enables citizen developers to create sophisticated web and mobile apps with no code. For those with coding skills, Bubble.io has the added advantage of building plugins to customize and supplement Bubble's built-in functionality as needed.

Bubble combines a visual programming language and a web development framework.

The no-code landscape offers an alternative to more standard approaches to developing web applications. Users can use these programming tools to create unique online applications, modify databases and processes, add page components (images, text, input forms, maps), and design their interfaces.

Bubble.io also includes a marketplace where you can discover ideal templates, plugins, and services to help you build strong products.

Copious is a responsive app built with Bubble.io

Technical overview

What is bubble.io built on?

Bubble.io is constructed using a mix of JavaScript-coded modules, CSS, and HTML, which come together to form a functional node.js application. Bubble has its own language based on JSON. This technology allows Bubble.io to run smoothly and efficiently.

Furthermore, Bubble.io is hosted on AWS, a powerful cloud platform. This means that the system is always being monitored and improved behind the scenes. As a result, you can expect your Bubble-powered apps to have an impressive 99.9% uptime. This infrastructure also lets you easily increase the computing power of your apps. And rest assured, AWS employs numerous security measures to keep your apps and data safe.

It's worth noting that while Bubble.io is hosted on AWS, developers interact with Bubble's interface and tools directly. There's no need for users to have an AWS account or interact with the AWS environment. This integration with AWS happens mostly behind the scenes, Bubble handles database management and manipulation within its platform. If you prefer, you can connect an external database like Xano or Firebase to your Bubble app.

Where is bubble.io hosted?

Bubble.io is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS), a reliable cloud computing platform. AWS provides a secure and scalable infrastructure that ensures high performance and availability for Bubble applications. Bubble's main cluster applications are hosted on AWS West Region (Oregon, US), but this can be customized if you're on a Dedicated Plan. It's important to note that Bubble apps cannot be hosted on-premise, meaning you can't choose your own server for hosting.

How does the Bubble.io platform work?

Bubble.io is a no-code platform, and, as such, it lets you create web applications without the need for traditional coding.  As a full-stack solution, it covers all the essential components an app needs to be fully functional: user interface (front-end) design, back-end logic, and hosting environment.

With Bubble.io, a no-code developer designs user interfaces through an intuitive drag-and-drop approach. Then it’s time to define data types, create data fields, and establish relationships between them. To establish logic workflows, you have to visually map out the sequence of actions the app should execute, like user registration or data manipulation. Furthermore, Bubble.io lets you seamlessly integrate external services and APIs. This means you can connect your app to various tools and resources, enhancing its functionality.

Technically speaking, Bubble.io combines modules coded in JavaScript, CSS, and HTML into a functional node.js application. This means that Bubble.io follows trusted and accepted web standards, so, if the standard capabilities of Bubble.io are not sufficient, developers can build custom solutions in JavaScript.

Features and capabilities

Bubble Features

Drag and drop

Bubble.io's drag-and-drop feature allows users to create applications visually without requiring code. The feature is based on the concept of "What You See Is What You Get" (WYSIWYG) editing, meaning that users can design and manipulate their application's user interface exactly as it will appear to their end-users.
Users can drag and drop elements such as buttons, text, images, forms, and other user interface elements onto the design canvas. They can then customize the elements' properties and behaviors using a variety of settings, without writing a single line of code. These elements can be grouped and organized to create complex workflows and logical sequences that form the backbone of an application.

Bubble drap-and-drop editor
Bubble drap-and-drop editor

Bubble backend workflows

In Bubble.io, the Workflow feature allows you to automate processes by setting up a sequence of events and actions. Each step in the sequence has an event that triggers it and one or more actions that occur when the event happens.

There are many pre-defined events available, and you can also create custom events to make your application more tailored to your needs. Once you've set up the event, the associated actions will be triggered. You can choose from predefined actions or create your own custom actions.

Bubble backend workflows
Bubble backend workflows


Bubble encrypted database

One of Bubble.io's key features is its encrypted database. When working with data in your app, there is a continuous flow of communication between the user's device and the Bubble server. This communication is encrypted at all times to ensure that any data sent between the user's device and the server remains private.

For instance, if a user inputs personal information like their name and date of birth, that data is encrypted while being sent to the server and while it's stored on the server. This means that the data is protected from unauthorized access and stays secure at all times.

Bubble encrypted database
Bubble encrypted database

Bubble app deployment and hosting

When it comes to server maintenance, infrastructure, or operations, Bubble.io can take care of the deployment and hosting for you in a safe and secure way.

Bubble also offers a dedicated hosting plan. This means that your app can be hosted on infrastructure that's isolated from other Bubble customers. Your app would run on dedicated servers, which can provide enhanced reliability and the ability to scale as required.

Bubble takes care of all the server setup, software installation, and monitoring, freeing you from the burden of managing these tasks yourself. This can be especially beneficial for those who want to focus on developing their app without the added complexity of managing the underlying infrastructure.

Domain configuration of a Bubble app
Domain configuration of a Bubble app

Bubble API connector

Bubble.io’s API connector is probably their most important plugin on the market. As the name suggests, it lets you connect to other apps and services to share actions and data. Bubble's API Connector enables you to seamlessly integrate external APIs with your Bubble app.

With this feature, you can easily call external applications or utilize custom logic developed outside of Bubble. This allows for greater flexibility and expands the capabilities of your Bubble application beyond its native functionality.

Bubble API connector
Bubble API connector

Bubble integrated debugger

Bubble.io has an integrated debugger to help users easily identify and correct errors in their applications. With this tool, users can see each element's performance, and the data being passed, and diagnose any issues in real time. The debugger streamlines the process of identifying and fixing issues, allowing users to focus on enhancing their application's functionality.

Bubble workflows debugger
Workflows Debugger

Bubble elements debugger
Elements Debugger

What can bubble.io do?

Bubble is great for building a wide range of applications, from simple prototypes to complex and fully functional apps for desktop and mobile web browsers. With Bubble.io, you can create polished user interfaces and incorporate dynamic content and responsive layouts with ease. The platform also offers a collection of plugins and integrations that allow you to extend your app's capabilities further. This makes Bubble an ideal choice for crafting anything from e-commerce platforms and social networking sites to project management tools. It's a suitable option for entrepreneurs, business owners, and developers who want to bring their ideas to life in an efficient manner.

When you build an app with Bubble, you have the choice of starting with a blank slate or picking from a variety of templates available in the marketplace. You can design or modify the user interface, including the screens, buttons, and forms, to fit your needs. The platform also enables you to build workflows, which are essentially the interactions within your app, and manage data storage effectively. Additional features include the ability to connect to other web services through APIs, schedule tasks for the future, and run recurring tasks as needed. Bubble is accessible via both desktop and mobile web browsers, and you even have the option to "wrap" your Bubble apps for submission to the Apple and Google app stores.

What can be built with Bubble?

Many start-ups (and even well-established businesses) use Bubble.io application builder. With Bubble, you can create all sorts of applications, such as:
- Apps for job boards.
- Real estate aggregation apps for brokers and clients.
- Apps for events and courses on the market.
- Marketplaces
-  Internal tools for your company, such as CM or accounting
- Personal business inventory and customer service software.

For a deeper dive into the types of applications you can develop, be sure to check out our article on type of apps you can build with Bubble.

What cannot be built with Bubble?

The platform is not designed to do everything. It might not be the ideal choice if you are designing a game app with complex visuals and movements. Also, if you're building a native app (one for app stores), you'll need to integrate it with another third-party service.

Bubble.io may not be the best choice for building high-performance applications that require low latency capabilities.

While Bubble is a powerful platform that can handle complex workflows and automate many aspects of app development, its infrastructure may not be able to provide the speed and responsiveness that some applications require. For example, a trading platform that requires real-time updates on prices and handles millions of transactions per second could experience delays that negatively impact user experience.

Bubble.io use cases: When to use Bubble?

Bubble for MVP development

Many people use Bubble.io to create MVPs (Minimum Viable Products), a basic version of a product or service that is developed with the primary goal of testing and validating its feasibility in the market.

By starting with a no-code MVP, and building it with a no-code platform, you can avoid the risk of investing a significant amount of time and resources in developing a product that may not meet the needs of your target audience.

When building an MVP on Bubble, you need to define your MVP and determine the core features that you need to include from the start. If your MVP needs to be a native app from the outset, you may need to consider that you’ll have to take some additional steps. However, for most basic MVPs, Bubble can be a reliable solution.

Bubble MVP app development backend
Bubble MVP app development backend


Bubble for workflows automation

Many businesses can benefit from custom software that helps them automate their processes.

While it is common for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to utilize various off-the-shelf software as a service (SAAS) subscriptions, there are benefits to using custom software built with Bubble.io.

With custom software, SMEs can tailor the platform to their specific needs and requirements, allowing for a more efficient and effective workflow. Additionally, custom software can eliminate the need for multiple SAAS subscriptions, potentially saving them money in the long run.

Bubble workflow automation
Bubble workflow automation

If you're keen to delve deeper into platform specifics, don't miss our comprehensive guide on the capabilities and limitations of Bubble.io.

Examples of Innovative Apps Built with Bubble.io

These are some successful apps built with the help of bubble.io:

Incomee - An app that helps freelancers send invoices, manage finances and track their business progress.

Copious.land - A members-only platform for professional land investors, that brings together information about properties. The app provides a centralized marketplace where members can find, buy, and sell wholesale properties.

Comet.co - A freelance recruitment platform for tech freelancers that raised 11 million euros in 2018, created its application thanks to Bubble. Comet has the functionality to accept applications, and screen and evaluate talents.

Reachr - An app that facilitates communication and collaboration between brands and influencers, allowing them to work together more effectively.

Security and scalability

Bubble security

Bubble.io takes the security of your data very seriously. The platform is built on top of Amazon Web Services (AWS), a highly secure hosting platform.

configuring privacy rules of a Bubble app
configuring privacy rules of a Bubble app

Additionally, dedicated plans come with free SSL certificates that ensure secure communication with your app servers over HTTPS.

Additionally, Bubble.io allows you to recover data from any point in time with point-in-time recovery. You can choose how long Bubble.io retains your data and increase your data storage as needed. In case of a complete loss of a database server, Bubble.io uses Amazon's RDS automatic backups to restore data.

Bubble scalability

The Bubble platform offers both scalability and performance optimization, which includes handling an increasing number of Bubble apps and improving the user experience for end-users.

For successful app development using Bubble, it is crucial to establish a solid database structure and design plan from the outset. This ensures that your application remains scalable and maintainable over time.

Overall, Bubble is a fully scalable platform, and it can handle real-time data with minimal delay and accommodate up to a million users on a mobile app.

Reviews and comparison

Bubble review: Bubble pros and cons

Bubble pros and cons

Benefits of Bubble

With Bubble, you can build and launch a web application in a shorter time frame compared to traditional code-based development.

Bubble offers a wide range of customization options and integrations and it also has a good free trial option, to test all available services.

The Bubble.io community is very active and many templates, plugins, API integrations, and features are added to the tool's catalog every day. They’re also supportive and helpful towards their members. Users frequently offer free assistance and step-by-step guides to others who need help.

Limitations of Bubble

Depending on the complexity of the application, it may not perform as well as a code-based application.

Bubble.io has some limitations in terms of responsiveness. While it is possible to create responsive web apps with Bubble, it does require some practice to master the subject. Having an expert assist you in creating responsive web apps with Bubble.io can be beneficial, as they can help you navigate its limitations and ensure that your app is optimized for all devices.

Using no/low-code tools which are relatively new, carries some level of risk. However, a factor that can give you some reassurance is Bubble's promise to release your data if they ever cease operations. Not all platforms commit to this, so it is a significant advantage of Bubble.

If you're considering using Bubble.io, it's important to note that the platform doesn't support exporting code or transitioning to another no-code platform. If you do decide to switch to a code-based development or another no-code platform, you may need to start from scratch. This is because Bubble.io is a proprietary platform, which makes it difficult to migrate to other platforms.

Although this limitation can be a significant constraint for some users, Bubble.io provides a wide range of features to help you expand your app, such as database scalability, server capacity, and custom code integration. The goal is to build a fully functional and scalable app within the platform, without having to migrate to any other solution.

If you're interested in learning more about the overall performance and user experience of Bubble, you can read our in-depth Bubble.io review.

Bubble.io alternatives

  • Bubble vs Adalo
    While Adalo is perfect for non-programmers looking to quickly create native apps, Bubble is better suited for businesses of all sizes looking to develop web applications with the potential for scalability. Read our complete comparison here.
  • Bubble vs Flutterflow
    Bubble is great for making quick changes to your app and if you need to connect with many different services. If your app requires frequent updates FlutterFlow may be a better fit for you. Read our complete comparison here.
  • Webflow vs Bubble
    Bubble is known for its good set of back-end features and many integrations, but, compared to Webflow it may lack flexibility and design freedom. Webflow is better for front-end design and has more marketing and sales features. Read our complete comparison here.
  • Bubble vs WeWeb
    Bubble excels in full-stack app development and offers numerous integrations, but it may be less intuitive than WeWeb. WeWeb shines in front-end design and offers flexible backend connections. Read our complete comparison here.
  • Bubble vs Glide
    Bubble.io is tailored for intricate, full-stack app development, boasting a wealth of integrations for deep customization, yet it may present a steeper learning curve. Glide, in contrast, offers a more intuitive experience, excelling in quick development and seamless scalability, with effective data source integrations. Read our complete comparison here.

Add-ons and Extensibility

Bubble Integrations

Using Bubble.io’s API Connector, developers can effortlessly communicate with external APIs. Additionally, Bubble.io offers nearly 1000 plugins that cover a wide range of functions, such as analytics, payment gateways, and transaction management.

Bubble.io integrates smoothly with various services and platforms, such as:

  • Airtable: Bubble’s Airtable integration lets you create your own fully functional web application using an existing Airtable base. This powerful plugin lets you read from and write to a database in Airtable, so you can build custom user interfaces and workflows for your data with Bubble’s visual editor, all without code.
  • Figma: Import your Figma file and Bubble will translate every design element into respective Bubble elements.
  • Make.com: Make will help you connect Bubble with any app or service that might be missing in Bubble’s app library. With Make’s no-code toolkit, you can design workflows with as many steps as you need and integrate an infinite number of apps.
  • Slack: Bubble's Slack plugin provides users with advanced features to integrate the Slack API into their web applications. This integration can be done without the need for coding.
    The Slack plugin allows for various capabilities such as creating a bot for the web app within Slack, building an internal team chat tool that synchronizes with the user's Slack workplace, and much more.

Bubble and AI integration

Integrating Bubble.io with OpenAI or AI tools can enhance the functionality and intelligence of the applications created. One way to leverage AI in Bubble.io is through text generation. For example, AI can be used to generate a list of questions for surveys, saving users time and effort. Another valuable use case is text summarization, where AI can summarize long lists of survey responses into concise and digestible summaries. Additionally, AI can aid in categorization by automatically assigning tags to text, streamlining the organization and classification of information. These integrations can greatly improve user experiences and make app workflows more efficient.

To integrate the OpenAI API with Bubble.io, follow these steps.

- First, sign up for an OpenAI API key on the OpenAI website.

- Then, install the API Connector plugin from Bubble.io. This plugin extends the functionality of Bubble.io and allows you to connect with external APIs.

- Create a new API in the API Connector called 'OpenAI' and enter the API key generated from OpenAI. This setup enables you to make API requests to OpenAI from within Bubble.io.

Additionally, you can fine-tune the workflow requests by setting up OpenAI model variables to ensure fast responses and high accuracy in the user experience. Following these steps, you can easily integrate OpenAI or other AI tools into your Bubble.io applications and leverage their capabilities to deliver value to your users.

Practical aspects

Bubble.io pricing

Bubble pricing
Bubble pricing

The pricing model of Bubble.io changed in April 2023. The model is now built around a new consumption metric known as "workload units". The computing resources utilized by your app for various tasks like workflows, file uploads, page loads, API calls, and data operations are measured by these units. Unlike in the past, when a plan's workload reaches its maximum, Bubble.io no longer limits app performance; instead, clients are now charged for any excess amounts of data. The apps will scale on their own, which helps to prevent compromising their performance, but users can choose to turn off the auto-scaling and avoid extra charges if they prefer greater control.

This is what their three-tier plan looks like now:

  • Starter – $32/month (paid monthly) or $29/month (paid annually)

A basic plan ideal for testing your project or minimum viable product and for apps with small-to-medium user bases.

  • Growth – $134/month (paid monthly) or $118/month (paid annually)

For projects that involve a little more development and more complex functionalities.

  • Team – $399/month (paid monthly) or $350/month (paid annually)

For large projects with high workloads.

There is also a free plan available, which allows you to explore the platform (with limited functionality) and build your app for free.

Should you build your Bubble.io app alone or partner with a Bubble agency?

While Bubble.io offers a powerful platform for building web applications without coding knowledge, working with an experienced development agency can provide you with access to a broader range of expertise and ensure that your application is fully customized to meet your specific business needs.

Technical knowledge is essential for developing scalable and reliable applications on Bubble.io. Knowing how to structure data, integrate external APIs, optimize workflows, and troubleshoot issues are all critical skills that can make or break a Bubble.io application.

LowCode agency can help you fully leverage the capabilities of Bubble.io to create scalable, efficient, and robust applications that meet your needs. From ideation to deployment, our team of experts will assist you every step of the way. Learn how to choose the right Bubble agency with our comprehensive guide. We'll help you with implementing complex features, optimizing application performance, and troubleshooting any issues that come up during the development of your Bubble.io app.

Do you have an idea for a project and want to bring it to life? Our Bubble.io specialists can get in touch to discuss your ideas.

FAQs

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