Bubble.is vs Knack + gamification & access to 'source' code

Hi everyone,

I stumbled accross this app builder when browsing the forum of a service I’ve been using for 2 years now: Knack.
I wish I had found Bubble earlier as it seems to be awesome at UI and UX.

I was wondering if anyone here has experience using both platforms and why you choose one over the other to build your app. I love the backend functionality of Knack but Bubble seems far better when it comes to designing a user experience and interface.

I have two additional questions:
Did anyone add any gamification elements to their app or does someone have an example or tutorial regarding user progression in an app? Meaning, you show them different views/form fields based on the progress a user has made in your app?

ANother question: what happens to the app when the plug is pulled on Bubble? It doesnt seem like you have access to the actual code so I was wondering what would happen if bubble closed down. Would you lose everything and have to start from scratch somewhere else or would you be able to export all the code?

Looking forward to taking a deep dive into Bubble!

I used Knackhq for several years.
Pros: Great platform for straight database development. Fast and fairly easy to work with.
Cons: Very limited UI (modifiable via Javescript but very cumbersome ). Very slow deployment of new enhancements. Compare Kack’s blog vs Bubble’s Announcement forum area.

Emmanuel here, cofounder. I won’t comment too much on the differences between Knack and Bubble, as I haven’t used Knack much. At first sight, I’d say Knack puts the DB at the center of the whole process, while we put the UI and the workflow at the center of it, which we think gives more flexibility.

Gamification-wise, we don’t really have a tutorial for this, but it’s really about finding the right data structure to represent the ‘games’, and then have some conditions on the elements and the workflows to change the behavior based on these data points.

Now for the source code question, I can give a few insights here. We don’t actually generate code per se, but instead, all apps use the same code base. An app on Bubble is from a technical standpoint an object that describes non ambiguously the design, the workflows, the DB structure, the styles, the plugins that it uses, etc. Now we committed to open source our code if we run out of business (but we don’t plan to!! :slight_smile: ) and we enable people to extend their app with JS (it’s in beta right now, most of the time uses Blockspring blocks, but we’ll expose a way at some point). You can read more in our FAQ.


Thanks for the (quick) response! I certainly hope you don’t run out of business, but we all know the number of ‘failed’ startups outnumber the successful ones. Having said that, I’m sure 90% of the apps built on bubble will probably not outlast yours… :stuck_out_tongue:

I know this is a slightly old topic, but I am currently in the exact same situation myself.

Until recently, I was developing my project with Knack and had been for a couple of month.I agree. Where Knack is very easy to build and manage a complex user database, it’s user interface/design doesn’t even come close to what you can do with Bubble.

I’ve only been using Bubble for a few days and already I am impressed with the functions available. If you lack CSS and Javascript skills, the Knack Builder Network are charging between $500 and $1000 to develop you custom code for functions that are readily available with Bubble at a simple “click and draw”.

My project heavily revolves around user database and record management, but the design is also very important. I’m still in the early days with Bubble, but I am hoping I can figure out how to set up a functional user database, as I am very close to subscribing with Bubble instead.


I used knack for about a year. Since it was the first no-code tool I found, I was initially super happy.
I built an app for one of my companys, and although the UI was baaad, it kind of did what I wanted it to do. At least it did a minimum of what I wanted it to do :slight_smile:

After about 8 months I started looking around for other tools, as Knacks limitations became too many and customer support was far from up to par.

Bubble was suggested somewhere, and I decided to try it out. Initially I was fascinated but it took a little time getting used to thinking differently than in Knack.

It soon became clear to me that Bubble is in another league than Knack.
I mean, Knack is not even close to Bubble in any way.
In Bubble it feels like I can do anything, while in Knack you always worked against its limitations.

And the community and customer support here is excellent. In Knack, community is almost non existing.


Great thanks for sharing @pnodseth about knack. I’m sure you will find the community here great and very supportive. That’s one of the key things I like about bubble - it’s more than just the app but a place where others will support you in whatever you’re trying to figure out :slight_smile: )


Yeah :slight_smile:
I’ve been using Bubble for about 8-9 months now, and this forum is extremley helpful. Trying to contribute whenever I can. :slight_smile:


I also stumbled onto Bubble from the Knack forum. Saw bubble referenced in knack forum>checked out bubble>never went back to knack.


I’m new to Bubble and want to build an app like Tinder or Duolingo where gamification is at the center. For example, in Duolingo users can gain access to different levels and earn points once they’ve finished a language lesson. Tinder you can swipe left and right depending on if you like someone or not. Is building this kind of functionality into Bubble possible?

Yes, this is possible.

this message is intended to all knack users.
I have been using Knack for more than 2 years and have built a very complex ordering /accounting app for our business. it includes - estimates, orders, invoicing, payment; admin, employee, customers users. delivery scheduling and time tracking, and more …
I just stumbled upon Bubble and having in mind that I am a very visual person - knack bothers me that they haven’t done much in the UI area … I am amazed by the design possibilities I see with bubble … but
My question is do you think I can replicate all Knack’s functionality??
thank you

I moved away from Knack just over a year ago for an app similar to yours I think and never looked back…

Not sure how it is now, but I found the community support here so much better than at Knack. That is what ultimately made me drop Knack altogether.

I’m not hating on Knack though! It is a good tool and I have been helped out by them with questions. It just wasn’t the tool for me :slight_smile:

1 Like

Thanks for the respond
I will try even though it’s going to take a lot of time to rebuild
I hope there is a bulk import option

I would start first by building out a particular section of your current app that holds the overarching structure. Building in Bubble is pretty different from Knack so it will take a couple of tries to get things right. But when you got the overall structure, you can easily add the other ‘modules’ you refer to.

Good luck and have fun :slight_smile:

thanks for the advice!
do you know if I am going to be able to create an invoice or estimate with multiple lines based on the prerecorded items and prices?

Yes, easy. I have estimate and invoice ‘modules’ that do that.

is your app for only internal use? can I take a peak?

I don’t have time at this moment, tomorrow will be better (I’m in Europe), but I could show a couple of things through screen share.

Because of PII issues, it’s going to be a bit tricky though.

In short and very simplified I built something like this: each ‘job’ that I create has a calculation (for the quote) that consists of cost and quote items.

Cost item: Service X $1000
Quote item: Service X $1500

Then I have invoicing that builds an invoice based on the quote item and calculation (all information needed for the invoice).

I also built something for purchase invoices. They can be uploaded and added to the system as a data thing. I can then allocate those purchase invoices to relevant cost items by dragging and dropping. I can then make the calculation final and ready for accounting where all the final costs have been added to the calculation.

I have also setup default ‘services’ that our users can pick that have preset prices and descriptions. I hope that gives you a bit of an idea.

1 Like

thanks a lot for your time
All info helps! I will appreciate if you can show me this and that if you have no time, it’s fine
I will manage
thanks again