Been thinking about this a lot lately and just wanted to drop my 2-cents on the topic. I’m likely wrong, but I’ve been confused by this for awhile and just want a place to vent / provide my take - so excuse my monologue.
I just started sinking my teeth into Bubble based on all the hype I’ve been hearing from the growing no code community; it sounded like a holy grail dream platform that could finally ‘do it all.’ Drastically cut down on app building, get us away from configuration/code and just start building.
My entrance into the no code movement came from my time with WebFlow, and having grown so smitten with the ease of their Editor. So powerful, yet well thought through - they’ve somehow taken an extremely hard problem (building a custom responsive front-end website), and have somehow built an easy-to-use UI that connects it all together. It’s seriously caused me to question why anyone would really whip out a code editor again for a front-end experience, save for large clients who need extreme customization. Unfortunately Webflow’s usefulness basically stops if you need to build a real App with a back-end.
So of course I tried Bubble next, with a loose anticipation that this would be Webflow with a real back-end builder. I thought I was doing something wrong when I logged in and read that they had JUST come out with a ‘Responsive Engine’… in late 2021. Then I actually started building with it and became even mor puzzled what everyone was raving about. I’m sure the Bubble team has heard this 100 times, is well aware of that feedback, and this is not to be a criticism at all. But I certainly was in a bit of shock, this was Bubble after all, the one platform that could one day rule them all; I was confused that everyone was raving about. I’ve now gotten used to the editor and it’s certainly not at all bad when you get the hang of it, but still - the front end builder, in earnest, is around 1/10 as efficient as something like WebFlow; and makes the normal building process a complete slog.
And there-in lies the core issue: Webflow and Bubble are attacking the same no-code problem from different ends.
Webflow is attacking the no-code from the Front-End, making the best damn in-browser frontend Editor in the world, yet they’ve barley even touched a back-end system, save for their Collections CMS and heavy use of plugins. Of course, their next big feature - workflows.
Bubble is attacking the no-code problem from the Back-End, making a truly remarkable back-end workflow builder (easy to see why it has a 10 year runway), and leaving the use with the feeling that the front-end editor is something of an afterthought. Of course, their next big feature - a redesigned front-end editor (see here).
One of them is going to get their first: One app with a front-end editor that is just as good as the back-end system.
It will be interesting to see who gets there first; Webflow has much more funding and overall brand polish, but they have a lonngggggg longgggg way to go to build something as robust as Bubble’s back-end editor. Bubble seems to be positioned the best; they’ve solved some the harder problems on the back-end, and a front-end editor seems to be the easier of the tasks (but by no means simple).
We’r so very close; and a really exciting time for the nocode movement, What my selfish fantasy would be is if Webflow or Bubble would purchase the other, and combine Webflows front-end editor to Bubble’s back-end workflow. That would just be Nirvana.