Diagramming a Bubble Database

This isn’t really a question. I’m just sharing a bit of my experience and offering a discussion if anyone’s interested.

After working with Bubble and developing a solution for about a year, I’ve decided I need a graphical representation of my database. There are two immediate reasons for this.

  1. I need to see where the implementation in Bubble has drifted away from my original intent.
  2. Moving forward, every change needs to be thought out more carefully to ensure that I don’t break something.
  3. (bonus) Thoughtful design is always less expensive than overly rapid, implementation. Now that I know enough about Bubble, it’s time to get serious about designing a solution, not simply throwing something together and hoping it works.

Given what I know from old experience in Microsoft environments, I chose to use Visio.

To provide a sense of scale, here’s the whole database as it currently exists:

The diagram omits most fields from most tables. If they’d been included, the whole diagram would be too unwieldy.

Here’s what just a small section would look like with all fields included:

Actually, the Client and Work tables haven’t been fully designed, so this small section will grow.

Many table relationships are one-to-many, with a return “key” on the many side. Graphically, the relationship is depicted only in the one-to-many direction. Adding lines for all the return links would really gum up the diagram.

That probably didn’t make sense, so here’s an example using a piece of the diagram with most fields hidden.

Project-Action is a one-to-many relationship. It’s implemented with an Actions field in Project that is a list of type Action. Action also has a field, Project, that is of type Project. The diagram only shows the one-to-many relationship. In the Action table, the Project uses "<- " to signify that it’s effectively a pointer back to the Project table.

I know that Sean Hoots has developed a free tool for producing a diagram from an existing Bubble database.


I’ll be giving it a try. I love those relaxed diagrams.

But I will want to go forward by designing pieces before implementing them, so I’ll continue to Visio until I find a better and/or cheaper design tool.