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Bubble.io scalability: A deep dive into how to scale effectively and best practices

Bubble.io scalability: A deep dive into how to scale effectively and best practices

If you've stumbled upon Bubble.io while contemplating your choice of a development platform, you might already be wondering "Is Bubble.io scalable for my development needs?"  This is a valid concern, as scalability plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of your applications. In the upcoming discussion, we'll explore Bubble.io's scalability potential and strategies to ensure your project can thrive.

TL;DR

Bubble is very scalable and strikes a good balance between customization and performance. Some of its best features include a scalable database, automatic resource adjustments, and performance optimization through caching and CDNs. However, it's important to remain mindful of potential vendor lock-in and platform-specific constraints. Regular performance monitoring and following best practices will help you scale as your app grows.

Why is scalability important?

Scalability is important in software and application development, including platforms like Bubble.io, for several reasons:

  • Handling growth: Scalability allows your application to accommodate an increasing number of users, data, and transactions without suffering from performance degradation or downtime. As your user base grows, your application should be able to seamlessly handle the increased demand.
  • User experience: Scalable applications provide a better user experience by ensuring that response times remain fast, regardless of the number of users accessing the application simultaneously. Slow or unresponsive applications can lead to frustration and user attrition.
  • Business needs evolving: As your business expands, your software needs to be able to support new features, functionalities, and services. Scalability ensures that your application can evolve with your business goals and stay competitive in the market.
  • Cost efficiency: Scalable architectures often allow you to add resources only when needed, which can help optimize costs. This prevents overprovisioning resources during normal periods and enables cost-effective scaling during peak times.
  • Competitive advantage: In a competitive market, an application that can handle growth efficiently is more attractive to users and investors. Scalability can differentiate your application from others that struggle with performance and downtime.
  • Future-proofing: Technology trends and user behaviors change over time. A scalable architecture can better adapt to future advancements, ensuring that your application remains relevant and functional.

What makes Bubble scalable?

Performance and load 

Bubble.io is designed to handle small to medium-sized projects with ease. It provides a reliable infrastructure that can handle a significant amount of traffic and user interactions.

The platform utilizes a scalable cloud infrastructure, which allows it to automatically adjust resources based on the demand. This ensures that applications built on Bubble can handle sudden spikes in traffic without experiencing performance issues.

Bubble.io also offers caching mechanisms and content delivery networks (CDNs) to optimize the performance of web applications.

Database and data handling

Bubble. uses a cloud-based database to store and manage data. This database is scalable and can handle a large amount of data. The platform provides various data management features, such as data types, workflows, and database queries, which allow users to efficiently handle and manipulate data.

However, it is important to note that as the size and complexity of the database increase, the performance of Bubble.io may be affected. Large-scale projects with extensive data requirements may require additional optimization and customization.

AWS and scalability

Behind the scenes, Bubble.io leverages Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure to support its operations. AWS offers a robust and scalable foundation, ensuring that Bubble.io applications have the potential to scale according to demand.

Third-party integrations

Bubble.io offers a wide range of integrations with third-party services and APIs. These integrations allow users to extend the functionality of their applications and connect with external systems.

While Bubble.io supports many popular integrations, it may not have native support for all services. In such cases, users may need to rely on custom API integrations, which can introduce additional complexity and potential performance limitations.

Potential traffic surges and user load

In scenarios where your Bubble.io application experiences a sudden influx of high traffic, the platform is designed to handle varying levels of load. Bubble.io benefits from its cloud-based infrastructure and the underlying capabilities of Amazon Web Services (AWS), which provide the potential for scalability. This means that, to a certain extent, Bubble.io can dynamically allocate resources to accommodate increased demand and maintain responsiveness.

Scalability best practices

You might be wondering, how do I build my bubble app with scalability in mind? 

1. Optimize database structure

Bubble provides a way to design databases and relationships between data types. While Bubble.io may not expose all the advanced database tuning options you might find in traditional relational databases, it still provides ways to improve search performance and optimize data retrieval. The level of control you have might not be as fine-grained as with traditional relational database systems, this could impact the optimization potential of your database structure.

Guidelines for database optimization:

1. Be consistent: Maintain uniformity in your data modeling and organization. Establish clear naming conventions, adhere to a standardized structure for your data types, and ensure consistency in how relationships are defined.

2. Break down data into smaller clusters: Bubble.io allows you to create multiple data types (similar to tables) representing different entities. Breaking down data into smaller types can help with organization and performance.

3. Establish relationships with foreign keys: Bubble.io supports creating relationships between data types, and you can establish relationships using fields that reference other data types. While this provides some level of data integrity and organization, the underlying mechanisms might not be as robust as what you'd find in a traditional relational database.

4. Avoid data duplication: This will minimize storage and improve performance.

Strategies for optimizing Bubble.io database queries:

1- Smart sorting and filtering: Apply sorting and filtering as close to the initial database search as possible for efficient queries. This reduces the need for extra processing after data retrieval. Also, prioritize filters accessible through the Search palette, which are typically faster than advanced filters applied using :filter.

2- Built-in performance boost: Leverage Bubble.io's built-in performance optimization features. These features encompass various aspects, including database optimization, image resizing, and caching. Use these tools to your advantage when addressing slow query speeds.

3- Embrace simplicity: Aim for simpler query expressions. While not an absolute rule, simpler queries are often faster and more efficient. Prioritize straightforward approaches to significantly enhance query performance.

4- Minimize data modifications: To enhance the performance of your Bubble.io application, it's advised to reduce the frequency of data modifications, particularly during page loads. Instead of directly modifying data on each page load, consider utilizing element states to track user progress within the page. This approach proves more efficient than making constant changes to database entries.

5- Optimize complex calculations: For resource-intensive calculations involving a significant amount of data, consider offloading these computations behind the scenes through scheduled workflows. Performing these calculations periodically and saving the results will help you reduce the need to perform them each time a user accesses the page. This optimization minimizes the strain on the system, resulting in quicker page loading and improved overall performance.

2. Build efficient workflows

When it comes to your Bubble app, the efficiency of your workflow holds immense sway over both its performance and operational costs. This is because of Bubble's pricing structure, which depends on Workflow Units (WUs), a metric that quantifies the computational load of your app's workflows. Each interaction, action, and operation within a workflow contributes to the cumulative WUs consumed. Your focus should center on:

Minimizing database operations

  • Reduce the number of database operations within your workflows.
  • Combine multiple database operations into a single action to minimize back-and-forth communication with the database.
  • Utilize Bulk Operations for efficient data manipulation.

Asynchronous workflows

  • Delegate resource-intensive tasks to background jobs or external services to prevent workflow bottlenecks.
  • Utilize Bubble.io's API workflows or integrate with external task queues to distribute workload effectively.
  • Asynchronous workflows prevent blocking and bolster app responsiveness, contributing to a smoother user experience.

3. Monitor performance

Efficiently track your app's performance by leveraging the analytics and logs provided by Bubble.io. This analytical data allows you to identify bottlenecks and areas that need to be optimized. Furthermore, by configuring alerts for crucial performance data, you may address possible problems before they affect users.

Discover how our Bubble.io Agency can help you navigate Bubble's scalability and implement industry-best practices for optimal performance and growth. Let's elevate your Bubble app to the next level - contact us now!

Limitations and considerations

Complexity and customization

Bubble.io is a no-code platform, which means it has certain limitations in terms of customization and flexibility compared to traditional coding approaches. While Bubble.io provides a visual interface and a wide range of pre-built elements and workflows, complex and highly customized applications may require additional coding or advanced techniques. It is important to carefully evaluate the requirements of your project and assess whether Bubble.io can meet your specific needs.

Bubble's auto-scaling for workloads

Unlike traditional setups where app performance stalls upon reaching a plan's workload limit, Bubble.io has adopted a more fluid approach. 

With Bubble.io's auto-scaling, the app's performance isn't restricted by pre-set limits. The platform can automatically allocate additional computing resources, such as processing power and memory, to your app when it experiences a surge in user activity or traffic. So, even beyond the plan's workload cap, the app's performance continues uninterrupted. 

However, it's important to note that customers are charged for any usage that surpasses the plan's stipulated limits. This auto-scaling feature guarantees that your app's performance remains consistent and unhindered, but for those who prefer to steer clear of additional charges, it can be toggled off. 

Vendor lock-in

Vendor lock-in is a significant concern that arises from the distinct features and limitations of the platform. Inherent to its no-code approach, Bubble.io abstracts a substantial portion of the underlying code, this is what ultimately enables rapid application development. However, this convenience comes with considerations that impact the scalability and flexibility of your application.

1- Dependency on the platform: As your application grows and evolves, you may encounter limitations imposed by Bubble.io's capabilities. Scaling your app to accommodate increasing user demands could be constrained by the platform's predefined functionalities.

2- Code export constraint: One of the cornerstones of vendor lock-in is the inability to easily migrate your application to a different platform. Bubble.io's no-code structure means your app's core logic and design reside within the platform, potentially hindering a smooth transition. The absence of code export could result in rework, added expenses, and time investment to rebuild functionalities.

3- Long-term adaptability: Your app's evolution is tied to Bubble.io's roadmap and feature enhancements. If the platform doesn't develop certain functionalities you require for scalability, you might find yourself constrained by these limitations.

Bubble hard limits overview

Bubble.io enforces hard limits to ensure system stability and performance. These limits are fixed thresholds that cannot be surpassed. Upgrading to higher pricing plans can increase some of these limits. This summary doesn't cover all hard limits enforced by Bubble.io, and specifics may change over time. You can refer to the official documentation for the most up-to-date and comprehensive information regarding hard limits on the platform.

Database:

  • Text fields: Each text field in the database is capped at 10 million characters, including spaces and formatting like BBCode/HTML.
  • Thing size: The data stored in a single thing (record) has a hard limit of 20 MB. This refers specifically to the data stored within the thing itself and doesn't encompass associated files or images.
  • Bulk operations: Initiating bulk operations from the data tab using the Bulk button is limited to 20,000 things. Keep in mind that factors like workflow complexity and data volume can affect this limit.

Design and logic:

  • Workflow timeout: Workflows exceeding 300 seconds (5 minutes) will time out.
  • Elements, events, and actions: The total combined count of elements, events, and actions on a single page is capped at 10,000.

Integrations:

  • API connector responses: Outgoing API calls using the API Connector or a plugin are subject to a 50 MB response limit. Crossing this limit generates a "response too large" error in logs.
  • API call headers: Headers in API calls are constrained by a maximum total size of 8,000 characters.
  • Data API concurrent requests: The Data API processes a set number of requests based on your plan:
  • Starter: 15,000
  • Growth: 25,000
  • Team: 35,000

Keep engagement during delays:

Even after all your fine-tuning and optimization efforts, there are tasks that inherently demand more time to execute. You can't avoid those, but you can communicate the situation to your users or keep them engaged during wait times.

Design a dedicated message that reassures users that their request is being processed and that a delay is temporary. Incorporating visual elements like loading counters or animations can provide a sense of progression and alleviate the user’s potential frustration.

Testimonials

We use Bubble.io to build our core technology product. It’s a fantastic tool that has allowed us to dramatically increase our development times while reducing costs. It’s very powerful, and when the apps that you build in Bubble.io are built well, they can scale very high (100,000 of concurrent users). We highly recommend Bubble.io!

What problems is Bubble solving and how is that benefiting you?

Allows for a non-traditional web developer to create solutions that work, scale, and are fit for purpose at a fraction of the cost.

Conclusion

Bubble.io is a scalable platform that can handle small to medium-sized projects with ease. It provides a reliable infrastructure, performance optimization features, and integrations with third-party services. However, it may have limitations in handling large-scale projects with complex requirements. It is important to carefully evaluate your project's needs and consider the scalability and customization limitations of Bubble.io before choosing it as your development platform.

You have a Bubble app in mind, and we're here to help you make it scalable and future-proof. Let's work together.

Created on 

September 2, 2023

. Last updated on 

May 13, 2024

.

Jesus Vargas

 - 

Founder

Jesus is a visionary entrepreneur and tech expert. After nearly a decade working in web development, he founded LowCode Agency to help businesses optimize their operations through custom software solutions. 

FAQs

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