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Building a web app with Bubble: Everything you need to know

Building a web app with Bubble: Everything you need to know

Can you bring your web app idea to life using Bubble?  While traditional websites offer static content, web apps allow you to create immersive experiences with real-time data interactions, personalized features, and user engagement. Whether you're an entrepreneur, a startup founder, or simply someone with a creative concept, this article will guide you through Bubble's capabilities to develop your very own web app. 

TL;DR

Bubble excels in responsive web app development with features beyond traditional websites. It's a no-code platform that offers flexibility, speed, and security. However, it's important to consider the limitations, like vendor lock-in and potential challenges with scalability and costs. Bubble's impact depends on aligning its capabilities with your project's needs and understanding when it's the right choice for your project.

Bubble vs traditional development

The process of web app development has traditionally been associated with a substantial investment of time and resources.  Traditional coding can be a time-consuming process that involves multiple stages, from frontend design to backend functionality. It requires developers to meticulously write and debug lines of code in order to translate design concepts into functional applications.

The no-code approach significantly reduces development time, as coding is replaced with assembling components and defining logic, all within a visual interface that allows users to build web apps by simply dragging and dropping elements.

Beyond speed and cost savings, Bubble challenges the conventional notion that no-code platforms sacrifice capabilities for simplicity. While custom coding and complex features are possible with traditional development, Bubble still stands out because it enables the creation of feature-rich web apps. A full range of capabilities are available from Bubble, including database management, intricate workflows, and pre-made third-party integrations.

Learn more: Traditional development VS. No-code/Low-code development

Common misconceptions about Bubble web development

Bubble app’s potential is limited

One common misconception about Bubble is that it's only suitable for creating simple applications. While it's true that Bubble excels at rapidly building prototypes and no-code MVPs, its capabilities extend far beyond that. The platform's visual interface might give the impression of simplicity, but in reality, it offers a robust set of features that can accommodate complex functionalities. From database manipulation to intricate workflows, Bubble can handle the needs of more sophisticated applications just as effectively.

There are expert Bubble developers who can focus more on high-level strategy and unique features. They can quickly build the backbone of an application and then use their coding expertise to implement custom features using JavaScript and APIs. Bubble's rich ecosystem of plugins and integrations opens up a world of possibilities to enhance the app's functionality. Bubble is not only suitable for basic applications, businesses and developers alike can count on it to build robust, innovative digital solutions.

Clarifying Bubble's focus: Web apps and PWAs

Bubble's core strength lies in crafting responsive web applications and Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). These solutions provide a middle ground between traditional websites and native mobile apps. Web apps developed on Bubble can adapt to various devices, ensuring a consistent user experience across different screens and orientations. 

Web apps built on Bubble have the advantage of being accessible from any browser, making them suitable for a wide audience. Whether users are on desktops, laptops, tablets, or smartphones, your app will function seamlessly, providing a cohesive experience regardless of the device they're using. 

For those who desire a more app-like experience for users, and have a presence in app stores, Bubble provides the option to wrap your web app using tools like Jasonette and BDK. But this solution has limitations and the result isn’t the same as native app development with traditional coding or a no-code platform prepared for this purpose, such as Flutterflow.

Bubble web development for entrepreneurs and non-technical founders

For entrepreneurs and non-technical founders, Bubble's web app development platform presents an enticing opportunity to turn ideas into functional products. In this section, we'll delve into the unique advantages that Bubble offers to startups.

Quick MVP development: Building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a critical step for startups to test their concepts in the market. This efficient approach not only saves you time but also translates to cost savings, as you can iterate on your concepts without the expenses associated with traditional development. Bubble's extensive library of pre-built components, templates, and automation tools is also valuable to kickstart your no-code MVP development. These ready-made resources significantly cut down the time and effort required to build the core functionalities of your app.

Idea validation: Validating a business idea before investing significant resources is essential. Bubble enables entrepreneurs to transform their ideas into interactive prototypes quickly. Founders can gather user feedback and receive insights early in the development process. This way, they can refine their idea, make necessary adjustments, and ensure that the final product aligns with market demands. 

Learning curve: Although Bubble's no-code platform is user-friendly, there is still a learning curve involved. Non-technical founders can benefit from resources like online tutorials, and forums, and potentially seek guidance from experienced Bubble developers.

Ready to accelerate your Bubble journey? Connect with our expert Bubble.io agency for personalized guidance and support. Start transforming your ideas into reality today!

Bubble web development for business owners

Why business owners are turning to Bubble

Speed of development: Business owners appreciate efficiency, and Bubble delivers. No-code can get products to market faster, while it also ensures quicker responses to evolving market needs.  When market trends change or user preferences evolve, you can make adjustments without the delays associated with traditional coding. 

Cost-efficiency: Budget-conscious business owners appreciate Bubble's no-code approach, which often reduces development costs compared to hiring a dedicated development team. The platform allows businesses to choose a price tier that suits their needs and budget.  The plans range from personal projects to robust applications, offering a scalable approach as your business grows. Bubble offers full-stack development, encompassing everything from backend servers to front-end design. This eliminates the need to piece together various tools or platforms, saving both time and money.

Automation: Bubble is a great platform to build automation tools. With automation, a business can streamline its operations, and leave behind repetitive, manual tasks, such as customer onboarding, order processing, and data analysis. This not only reduces the risk of human errors but also allows teams to redirect their efforts toward higher-value tasks such as strategic decision-making and customer interactions.

User experience and responsiveness: User experience can make or break customer loyalty. Customers expect seamless and intuitive interactions with web applications.   Bubble's platform excels in creating user-friendly interfaces, that include interactive elements, intuitive navigation, and visually appealing designs. Furthermore, Bubble ensures that your app remains responsive, this is, functional across various devices and screen sizes. Users will have a consistent experience whether they're using a desktop, tablet, or smartphone.

Security: Protecting business and customer data is non-negotiable. Bubble prioritizes security, providing a robust framework to safeguard sensitive information. Bubble's foundation lies in the reliable Amazon Web Services (AWS), a recognized leader in cloud infrastructure, and this partnership guarantees a steadfast commitment to security. Collaborating with Bubble experts who adhere to industry best practices can also enhance the security of your web app. A strong foundation and secure practices are important to help you maintain your reputation and ensure that your employees and customers can interact with your web app confidently.

ROI considerations and hidden costs

While no-code platforms like Bubble offer significant advantages in terms of speed, ease, and initial costs, it's essential to delve deeper into the long-term impact on your Return on Investment (ROI) and uncover any potential hidden costs.

Initial investment and time savings: No-code development can significantly reduce the upfront costs associated with traditional coding. The faster development cycles also mean quicker time-to-market, allowing you to start generating value sooner.

Ongoing maintenance and scaling: While no-code platforms simplify initial development, consider the scalability and ongoing maintenance aspects. As your app evolves and user demands increase, you might need to invest in more advanced features or integrations, potentially leading to higher costs over time.

Bubble pricing and “workload units”: Keep in mind that as your app's workload increases, Bubble.io will automatically allocate more resources to ensure optimal performance and this will impact the overall cost of their services. Bubble's pricing model, which underwent a change in April 2023, uses "workload units" to measure the computing power your app uses for tasks like workflows, page loads, and data operations. As your app scales to meet higher demands, you should consider the associated costs of these workload units. However, if you prefer greater control over costs, you can choose to opt out of auto-scaling and manage your app's resource allocation manually.

Complexity and customization: In some cases, highly customized or complex applications might require coding or advanced integrations that go beyond the capabilities of a no-code platform. Factor in the possibility of having to collaborate with developers for specific functionalities.

When is Bubble the right choice to build a web app?

Selecting Bubble for web app development becomes a clear choice in situations where you're looking for cost-effectiveness and speed, without compromising on technical capabilities. Here are some scenarios where Bubble shines:

Real-time tracking and scheduling: If your app involves real-time tracking, scheduling, and dynamic updates (e.g., delivery or booking apps), Bubble offers features to manage these efficiently.

Database management: Bubble's robust database capabilities enable you to handle complex data structures, making it perfect for marketplace apps with extensive product catalogs or educational tools with diverse content.

User interaction: For social networks, community platforms, or review websites, Bubble provides tools for creating user-friendly interfaces, interactive elements, and personalized user experiences.

Multimedia support: When your app needs to incorporate multimedia content like videos and interactive elements (common in educational tools), Bubble's multimedia support simplifies integration.

Learn more: What type of apps can you build with Bubble.io in 2023

Learn more: The top 5 no-code tools for marketplaces

When to move beyond Bubble

Deciding when to transition away from Bubble and explore alternative development options is an important consideration for businesses and developers. Here are scenarios where moving beyond the platform might be better:

Complex functionalities: If your app requires highly specialized or unique features that aren't achievable within Bubble's visual interface, it might be time to consider more traditional development methods. Complex integrations, advanced algorithms, or intricate backend processes could fall outside of Bubble's capabilities.

Native mobile apps: If your project demands native iOS and Android apps, Bubble's current limitations in this area might prompt you to explore other options. While there are workarounds to convert web apps into mobile apps, these solutions might not provide the optimal user experience or performance of fully native apps.

Data control and security: For projects requiring highly sensitive data management or complex security measures, traditional development could offer more control over data handling and encryption protocols.

Risks and limitations and how to mitigate them

While Bubble offers a powerful platform, it's essential to acknowledge its limitations. To start, projects that require highly specialized components or intricate backend processes might face challenges. However, expert developers can harness the platform's potential to the fullest. For projects demanding beyond the platform's built-in capabilities, they can incorporate custom code using JavaScript. Also, custom API integrations open a wide window of opportunities, and advanced functionalities through external services.

The landscape of no/low-code tools is relatively new and rapidly evolving. While this brings innovation, it can also lead to uncertainty regarding the platform's longevity and continued development. However, Bubble has a commitment to release your data if the platform ever ceases operations, something not every platform offers.

Finally, we should address the vendor lock-in risk. Bubble doesn't give you the option of exporting the underlying code of your application. Using Bubble's proprietary platform could potentially lead to platform lock-in, where migrating the app to another environment might be challenging, or it might mean you’ll have to build the application again from scratch. 

The most important advice we can give you is for you to explore and learn about the technical limitations of Bubble against your project's long-term goals to know if you'll be able to take it as far as you expect. You should make sure that your app's complexity and requirements align with Bubble's capabilities, so you can make informed decisions about its feasibility and scalability over time. 

Maximize your project's potential on Bubble with expert guidance. Contact our skilled Bubble.io developers today to align your app’s capabilities with your vision. Start building smarter and faster now!

FAQs

Where can I find help and support for Bubble development?

Is Bubble for apps or websites?

Can I export the code from a Bubble app?

What happens if Bubble ceases operations?