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Bubble.io is a NoCode tool for building web applications without code. It is built by Bubble Group, Inc. which was founded by Emmanuel Straschnov and Josh Haas in 2012 and is based in New York. Emmanuel and Josh bootstrapped the company for seven years before raising 6MM from SignalFire and then in 2021 raising 100MM from a Series A round. Bubble is one of the major players in the NoCode space.
Bubble allows for building responsive websites and applications that run within a web browser. While the applications can be modified to function as progressive web applications it does require jumping through some hoops to accomplish that and it’s not the primary intended use case for Bubble. Additionally, some people have created mobile apps using Bubble. This involves using a 3rd party service such as BDK to build the native app.
Common Use Cases for Bubble
While Bubble can build any web site and web application the following are some use cases for applications that can be built on Bubble.
- Workflow Management Systems
- Dashboards and Other Data Visualization Tools
- Job Boards
- Customer or Employee Portals
- E-Commerce Applications
- Scheduling Systems
The Bubble editor is powerful and consists of a visual interface that NoCode developers can use to create apps without writing code. Bubble has an extensive and flexible editor. It’s the closest you’ll get to the power of coding before going the lowcode or full code route.
Education and Community
There are numerous paid and free resources for learning how to use Bubble.
Bubble Group, the company behind Bubble, offers bootcamps which can be a good way to learn the tool. They say they have had over 1,800 students in more than 50 countries complete their bootcamps. Udemy also has a course for learning Bubble.
Bubble has a very active forum with almost 50,000 users. Additionally, there are Facebook groups focusing on Bubble as well. Bubble probably has one of the most active communities, most likely due to the tools relatively long existence.
The Bubble documentation is extensive and covers everything from the basics to more complex functionality.
This site, NoCode Guides, was created to help people obtain Bubble mentoring. It has since grown to support mentoring on many other NoCode platforms.
The Bubble pricing ranges from free to dedicated instances. There are also discounts available for students, universities and non-profits. Bubble has not been without controversy on the pricing front though. In March of 2022 Bubble announced changes to their pricing which was met on the Bubble forum with lots of pushback leading to the company reevaluating the changes. Given that NoCode in general is still in its infancy, it’s worth paying attention to how a company handles pricing changes.
Bubble is very extendable and has a huge ecosystem of plugins and templates. It also supports integrating with 3rd party services via API’s. Bubble’s extendibility allows you to implement very custom and flexible applications.
Bubble plugins cover a wide range of use cases. The following are some examples of the types of plugins.
- Stripe, PayPal, Braintree and Other Payment Plugins
- Google Maps and other Mapping Plugins
- Live Chat Integration Plugins
- Charting and Other Data Visualization Plugins
- Calendar and Scheduling Plugins
- Slider Plugins
- PDF Generation Plugins
- CSV Import and Export Plugins
- Calculators and Other Mathematical Plugins
There are also over 800 templates that you can install (for either free or for a fee).
Bubble has an API Connector that lets you use 3rd party API’s. The API Connector allows for using almost any API that returns JSON. Bubble applications also expose an API endpoint that lets you expose your workflow and application data to the outside world. This lets you push data into your Bubble database through other applications living outside of Bubble.
Paid Options for Building on Bubble
There are a large number of Bubble freelancers and agencies that specialize in the platform. This makes it easier to build and maintain Bubble applications. It also reduces the risk of organizations using Bubble as they can continue to support their applications if their developer leaves.
Limitations and Drawbacks
The flexibility of Bubble comes at a cost of a steeper learning curve. Additionally, creating actual native mobile apps requires a 3rd party tool. However, building mobile apps that also work as standard web pages is likely a niche use case for most NoCode developers.
Apps Built Using Bubble
The following are a few examples of applications showcasing what can be built using Bubble.
The Goodgigs Bubble app is a marketplace for jobs with mission-driven companies. Professionals are sent job opportunities via email.
The incomee Bubble site helps freelancers run their businesses. It’s an all-in-one accounting tool that helps with invoicing, proposals and project management.
The Treepoints site was built on Bubble and helps people understand their carbon footprint. It provides a calculator for estimating how a persons activities and life generates carbon emissions. It also provides tools for helping to fund carbon offsetting initiatives.
- Adalo: The Adalo app builder lets you create both web apps as well as installable Android and iOS native applications.
- Glide: The Glide app builder lets you create progressive web applications that can run on both mobile browsers and desktop browsers. Its primary target platform is mobile.
- Thunkable: Using Thunkable you can create native apps that can be installed via the Google Play and Apple Store. This will only be a good alternative if you only want people using your app via their mobile device.
Bubble is one of the oldest NoCode platforms and should be strongly considered when selecting a NoCode tool. It excels at allowing for a non technical person to quickly build web applications. While there can be a steep learning curve for novice NoCode developers the large ecosystem of educational resources and an active community make it easier to climb the learning curve.
The following table summarizes this bubble.io review.
|Use Cases||Web Applications||Custom Web Applications including workflow management, e-commerce and pretty much anything else that can run in a web browser.|
|Target Platforms||Multiple||The primary use case is web applications although informational web sites can also be created. These applications can be made responsive so that they render optimally across both mobile and desktop screen sizes. Progressive web applications can also be created through additional coding. Additionally, some people have created native applications from Bubble and there are several tools and companies that can help with this. This allows people to create installable applications that run on Android and Apple devices and are available through the respective stores.|
|Offers Free Tier / Trial||Yes||A free tier provides core features of the Bubble platform and includes the Bubble branding. Community support is included instead of support from Bubble.|
|Community||5/5||Bubble runs a very active Discourse forum with over 49,000 users. There are also active Facebook groups dedicated to Bubble.|
|Educational Resources||5/5||Bubble has extensive documentation plus offers bootcamps. There are also YouTube channels dedicated to learning Bubble.|
|Plugin Ecosystem||5/5||Many Bubble plugins exist that allow for performing various tasks.|
|Template Ecosystem||5/5||Over 800 Bubble templates exist that allow for getting a jump start on implementing a design for a web site or web application.|
|API||5/5||Bubble hosts an API that lets you control your application. It also has an API Connector that lets you make API requests to external endpoints.|
|Freelance Developers and Agencies Specializing in Tool||Yes||Bubble has a large number of freelance developers and agencies that specialize in the tool.|
|Founding Date||June 21, 2012||Joshua Haas and Emmanuel Straschnov founded Bubble and are still with the company.|