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Leaving Bubble for four reasons

Great thread and interesting reading.

I am currently on the cusp of developing my first prototype. It is an idea I have been developing for a little while, now I want to build a prototype.

Being a designer for cough many years and also being a bit of a techy (and a Webflow fanboy) I have now embarked upon learning Ruby - purely to develop a web app. I have been aware of Bubble for a good while and would really like to know what the limitations are.

My main concern being, I learn Bubble and then find it can’t do certain things which I could achieve if I’d learnt Rails (after Ruby).

I know a lot of you are strong advocates of Bubble but would be keen to know - as mention above - what you have also found limited with it.

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Hi I’ve been a user of Bubble for almost 9 month’s now and I’m very happy with the software.
I signed up for a payed version in about two weeks after my trial period.

What I’ve noticed though is that there is “quite a speed up” of new implementations of facilies. All the plugin, API and many more. For me, I would like to see a little more follow up on the tutorial side. I mean, what stunned me in the beginning was that there were videos all over the place, these small video notes where really great.

So, my conclution is . . . if Bubble is to grow as a “common folk plattform” with a no programming approach. It cant get to technical to fast, you will surely lose a great deal of customers if your userfriendly tutorial sellpoint fades away.

Hope for a little slower pace … // Keep up the good work though.
// Joran // Gothenburg // Sweden

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@studio120 - That’s a healthy, pragmatic perspective. I can try to share some of my experiences here, hopefully it provides some additional insight:

Design Limitations - There are various things, such as inverting the display style of an ext. vertical repeating group (ex. to make a repeating group display data in the same style as iMessage, Messenger, etc. which is not currently possible…any chat-based project will feel a bit off by modern design standards). Mobile UX can be restrictive, as there aren’t currently touch gestures that users can access. Although some folks, like @gurun, have managed to write custom javascript plugins to implement solutions like hammer.js. That is the beauty of Bubble plug-ins - however, you either need wait until more developers come on board and release the plugin you are searching for, or you need to be able to develop the plugin yourself. Moreover, you cannot (currently) take advantage of libraries and frameworks outside of whatever Bubble is using. So, many of the animations and wild design interactions you see on places like Codepen and Webflow will be extremely challenging.

Performance Limitations: there are entire threads on this topic in the forums, and most have found workarounds for their issues. As someone with ‘some’ traditional programming background, I can speculate that many javascript applications are hard to scale because the language itself is a dynamically untyped language and very hard to debug when applications get large enough at scale (although the Bubble team experiences this issue, not necessarily Bubble users). Again, because javascript is a dynamically untyped language, speed is unlikely to be mind-blowing…it all depends on the framework Bubble is building out. If you want to build something as responsive as snapchat, forget about it…for now, anyway.

I too have considered investing more time in traditional programming, but I generally only do so after I hit a wall with Bubble…and that does happen time to time. The main advantage of investing your time in Bubble vs. learning a programming language, is time. My time is very limited, and Bubble is currently the best choice for me to build out my product while I continue to run a business and sleep a few hours each day. If Ruby is your first experience with traditional programming, the learning process will take lots of time to learn it well…and well enough to accomplish an MVP that you would be able to build using Bubble in a fraction of the time. Why not learn Ruby (or javascript) while you learn and develop in Bubble? The two journeys go hand-in-hand.

That said, you can’t go wrong learning Ruby if you decide that’s best for you. Your situation is unique to you, and you know it better than anyone here on the forums. Three questions that I ask myself every single time I embark on a new project:

  1. What am I trying to accomplish? (building an mvp for a startup, learning/improving my programming abilities, automating existing business processes, trying improve my product building skills as a designer, trying to improve my design skills as an engineer, etc. etc.)
  2. What are my time constraints? (student, full-time employee, starving entrepreneur, hobbyist, etc).
  3. What tools are available to build a working product? (Bubble, Sketch, Flinto, Javascript skillz, hustling skills, etc.)

I generally pick the most efficient tool to accomplish #1 within the constraints of #2…this approach has never failed me to date. Bubble has saved me a lot of time in the product design/development lifecycle (and $), and I haven’t looked back since utilizing it as one of the primary tools in my arsenal.

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@supernaturally

Thank you for the well-considered response. You just gave a great synopsis of my current situation. I am freelance and work continuously. I have managed to gain finance for my new project(s) but they have not developed further, due to time, and feel I have been procrastinating way too long, purely because I am learning Ruby along the way.

I know Bubble is catering for people like myself (and others). I would not have any hesitation taking the ‘Bubble Bus’ if I knew I would not hit a brick wall early on. Your explanation of Bubble’s limitations helps a lot. Thank you again.

I now feel a little more confident in the course of action I should initially take. Build the prototype in Bubble and then when there is some traction, get the app developed further - outside of what I feel could be a bit of a ‘walled garden’ i.e. cannot export code due to being tied to Bubble’s own framework.

What sets it apart is how one can build apps without code. It is very easy to understand and implement.

My advice would be to learn Bubble - it will take you a week and you’ll have an MVP at the end. If you found limitations that are critical to the true MVP of your product (unlikely) along the way, the worst you’ve lost is a week :slight_smile:

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yeah, just going to have to do the subdomain thing for app features and hope I can at least get people to log in through the webflow pages. I can get away with that on this project because not all pages have to be dynamic. Just the MLS and administrative, and user functions have to deal with that. It would just be nice to see an api where you can pull bubble data into the dynamic blocks in webflow. that would be amazing. Then we could just use bubble to build the perfect cms for any client. and we have control on how easy to make the interface by the clients computer skill level. you know what I mean…lol

lol i already built 2 applications attendance and parking system while learning bubble in just a week

now it’s been a month since i join bubble and already created 6 web app

i think it will depend on your understanding i’m not a developer but bubble helps me built all web apps that i wanted to build before, so for me bubble is a life saver. :smiley:

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I think Bubble is SO much easier to use and learn than Webflow. Just saying… It is. Only thing I like more about Webflow is the animations.

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Bubble is a pretty decent tool, I think for me switching back Rails is the fact that I don’t have to worry about paying to upgrade to a professional plan only to use a personal domain name or paying to use plugins. The way that the site is setup now vs. when I started over a year agin I notice that I can’t accomplish much without having to fork over money that I don’t have to test on bubble. Also, their logo is everywhere, like when posting the link to your project on Facebook, the Bubble logo shows up on your post rather than an image that you set. This goes away when you upgrade to a professional plan, super annoying. This is deterring people away from clicking on my project and therefore is not useful for getting traction. The monthly subscription plans are used to generate cash for Bubble instead of them going out to raise funding to grow their platform. Power users suffer in the end unless your Bubble app makes money that you can then use to pay for the pro plan. Just my thoughts. I’m still pro-Bubble for learning reasons but as for launching I’m pro-Rails.

You can achieve everything you’ve described with a Personal Plan for $14.

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You can’t compare Bubble and Rails(I’m assuming you are talking about RoR). It’s like comparing a sushi restaurant with uncooked rice and chopsticks.

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I would say bubble is eaay. It’s so easy it’s hard to get you’re head around it.

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Agreed!

That just goes back to my overall theme. No matter if its $19/mo., $14/mo., or drops down to $10/mo.; bubble developers will still be at a lost financially and at disadvantage. Let me know which one of your apps, that are on a paid plan, has a significant amount of traction and is generating a livable income.

Don’t just compare the cost of a monthly subscription to bubble versus the monthly cost of rails, which is ostensibly free as it is an open source framework. This ignores the massive opportunity costs of spending the time to learn rails, increased development time (admittedly this may not hold true for a solid rails dev), and increased cost of support, maintenance, and hiring external devs. For a solo entrepreneur, this makes even the highest tiers of bubble look cheap.

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I Love rails, but lets be reasonable.

You are comparing apples to oranges here. Rails is one of the most harsher frameworks out there to master. Sure, i could start a simple rails app in 5 Minutes, but troubleshooting in rails is not easy at all. Maintenance could be a pain in the butt, from personal experience from few years ago. I also find that rails has too much “magic” to actually develop anything big without a team.

Of course Rails is going to scale much better than bubble, but its like comparing Webflow to Wordpress. Both are CMS but they have other use cases and different target audience. One is close source and the other is open source.

bubble developers will still be at a lost financially and at disadvantage.

I partially agree on your statement. Doing only Bubble development is not really going to get you a job or anything. Overall i think Bubble is good for people starting out a small side project app that want to focus on the app, not on maintenance or too much in coding.

I also decided to “ditch” bubble on larger projects. I’m still gonna use it for my side projects, because i enjoy using it (its like a hobby of mine), but overall i miss the control that coding gives me on a larger / custom projects.

If you can code, bubble is not really for you mate.

I am an Android developer and started my career as a PHP developer and then nodejs developer. After I quit my job. I started as a full-time freelancer. I realize I’m not a superman who can do many things. I underestimate bubbleism. after I tried it all looked like superman who could do all the work I could do for months but with bubbles in just 1 week.

I realize the disadvantage of bubbleis is the lockin vendor. but I use firebase (except backendless) and almost the same as bubbles using the lockin vendor. we cannot take the logic that we have made and used on our server.

But I was very satisfied with bubbles and almost forgot about nodejs. In bubbles I only coding when it’s really needed.

Thank you bubbles, I hope you can provide a service where we can install our logic on our own server

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I’m sure when WordPress started conventional php coders and the rest said the same thing.
Today WordPress powers more than 50% of all websites.

For every such bubble app I can also point you to about 10 Rails apps that the developers are not generating livable income.

An app being successful or not doesn’t depend on just the platform used in creating it.
You can spend 1year to create an app on Rails and it may fail.
You may spend 3 months to create an app on bubble and it may fail.
At the end if my idea is going to fail I want it to fail fast.

The success of an app is more dependent on several factors than the framework used in creating it.

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Completely agree.

Although I believe @lawrencemurry is trying to convey that if he fails with rails after a year he would have spent less than failing with Bubble after 3 months.

And that is true if you just look at it in a 1-dimension cost: cash.

But as you mentioned, you prefer to fail fast. And I do too. If you look at it in a 2-dimension cost(cash and time) there is no doubt for me. I value my time 100 times over the cost of a Bubble subscription.

From an entrepreneurial mindset I prefer to launch 4 bubble projects in one year instead of launching 1 single rails project.

And although you can state that by sticking to rails you will improve your marketable career skillset this only holds true in the coding/developing industry.

By sticking to Bubble you will increase, at a faster rate, knowledge in other areas of expertise that are key to building a business. Like marketing and customer support.

Time and what areas of expertise are important for you are of subjective value of course, therefore the discrepancies you can find in this thread.

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