Apple ban on "app generating services". What does it mean for bubblers

In the middle of this year Apple announced the infamous rule 4.2.6 which states:

“Apps created from a commercialized template or app generation service will be rejected.”

At that time many were not sure what this really entailed and when it was going to take effect.
But last week this article on TechCrunch states that many companies have recently been given a January 1, 2018 deadline by Apple, after which point any new apps they submit will be rejected by the App Store Review team.
Read the article to get more details on this issue.
Now why am I bringing this up in bubble forum which is definitely not an app generating service.

This is why. Today Dropsource is on Product Hunt and someone asked the founders whether apps created from Dropsource will be affected by this rule. As we all know many bubblers have started experimenting using bubble as their backend and dropsource as the frontend for their apps since bubble doesn’t provide native app support yet. Even around June this year @emmanuel in answering a user’s concern about mobile support stated:

Now the issue is that on the surface you may think apps created with dropsource with bubble backend may be rejected by Apple because after all dropsource is a drag-and-drop code generating service. But that is not the case. In answering this question on Product Hunt, this is what Nate ( CTO and co-founder of Dropsource) said :

  1. We are not a template based solution. Each app is custom built by our users and Dropsource generates the code specifically for that app (every app is unique).

  2. Our apps are 100% built with native Swift. It is not HTML5 / JS wrapped in a native webview."

And I totally agree with him as I’ve looked at the generated code.
I find his second point though to be interesting. Does this mean Apple’s ban will affect web app wrappers like and the rest which essentially wraps your bubble application in a native webview. This is the route many bubblers have taking or are planning on taking. So this is something we should all consider in our app creation strategy.

This brings me to my last point, Progressive Web Apps (PWA). Given this Apple’s move and no one knows what will follow (maybe ban webview wrappers), there’s much focus now on PWA as a way to avoid Apple’s restrictions and strict guidelines. There has been some discussion on this forum on PWA and but it seems PWA is not on the immediate agenda of bubble. This is what @emmanuel said on a question about bubble’s support for PWA:

Given these recent development I think maybe it’s time bubble really start doubling their efforts on native apps and also look into PWA.
I’m even dreaming of maybe, just maybe a possible merger with Dropsource (that will be huge). This is because a lot of the app makers/generators have already started closing shops and several people will be looking for an alternative which I think both bubble and dropsource are in a position to provide.

Seriously Bubble should acquire/merge with Dropsource. Yes i know dropsource currently support bubble very well but a merger will make that whole integration seemless while still opening the doors for other 3rd party backends.

Happy bubbling


Sue from Dropsource here, thanks for the shout-out! For anyone trying to integrate Bubble data with Dropsource we have a tutorial:

We also support adding constraints to a Bubble API request with a new custom action so hopefully we can now deliver even more use cases for people who want a native app using data from their Bubble project.


Hi @ssmith, thanks for the detailed instruction on connecting bubble to dropsource. It is well written and i was able to follow it to successfully connect my dropsource app to my bubble backend.

Though i wish the constraints part could be made simpler. The 5 steps process of creating a contraint may be daunting to first timers and i’m hoping moving forward you could abstract some of the variable assignments.

Very interesting, @seanhoots. Thanks for sharing. Dropsource has certainly become more popular with Bubblers recently, so I do hope that apps built with it are able to stay outside of the rule.

Was playing with Dropsource today, as it had pinged up on ProductHunt for me.

Looks like it will really play nicely with Bubble, and had lots of thoughts about creating simple apps to front my Bubble stuff. Ultimately that is always the thing that exictes me the most, the number of ideas that spring from suing something for the first time.

What I particularly liked was the Scottish accent on the video tutorials :slight_smile:


@seanhoots Do you have any idea which or have a list of suppressed wrappers? I intend to use ‘Jasonette’ as middle man.

If I’m reading the Apple rules correctly, any app that is just a wrapper and a web-view is going to be subject to the Might Hammer of Rejection. Jasonette lets you do some cool stuff, but I’d be cautious about just using the webview capability to load your webpage.

Apple might not catch it, but according to how the rule sounds, this would be a no-no

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This article was posted to Techcrunch 2 weeks later:

It is from the same author, who originally wrote the article that was mentioned in this thread.

I think what the issue is, from Apples perspective - there are too many duplicates of apps that offer very little value. The “duplicates” are in such abundance because of the prominence of app template programs.
Not only do they offer little value, but they don’t meet a certain level of quality. I have seen many of these apps that are clearly just websites. They’re static - they move slowly etc etc.

Fortunately, Bubble has built the infrastructure to allow for the creation of high quality; quickly rendered web applications.
When making a native application in Bubble’s development environment - by building it all on one page and utilizing “hide/show” actions as well as vertical scrolls (that do not extend the page height) etc - Bubble can output a very high quality web application; that will make up a good portion of a hybrid application.

For that reason and referencing the article I have attached; I intuitively believe that an application that is package with something like gonative or equivalent will still be accepted by the app store.

Particularly if it
a) has a performance that goes beyond what is offered by many template solutions (which is just sticking a website in the app store). Bubble, can generate that superior performance.
b) actually has value… (which I know is speculative). Value, in this context - also refers to the apps “usage/scalability” factor. For example:

If a bunch of people create a pizza-place aggregate app, for their local pizza joints - and they do this by using a template program (which may not even require an existing website).
Next thing you know, you have 9000 applications in the App Store that are showing available pizza locations for 6000 cities in the USA - and all the applications are crappy static webpages essentially.

Not only that - but for how long will a smartphone user spend within that application? 13 minutes out of their whole year? Haha. Just Google pizza places!?..
Unless of course this pizza app truly does have some value. Like if you could order pizza’s directly within the app. Or any kind of dynamic - that provided reasonable functionality or novelty. Which you could definitely build on Bubble. Then the trick is to just make it look more “native-y”

I think that is what Apple is trying to weed out…
I also think there is a difference between “templates” and more high-tech web-wrappers.
There are some template programs that you basically just add pictures and words to create a smartphone “app” with no dynamic element at all - and if its not even original content - its even worse

BUT! Before I go!
If some guy can derive an income from an application that shows pictures of pizza places and the phone number and address. Who am I to say that he can’t do that!!?
He should do that!

I’m not going to lose sleep if there are 9000 other apps that do exactly the same thing. 5 of which are already in that guys home town.

That’s Apple’s problem