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Monthly Community Update -- August 2021

Hi all,

This is our August community update; you can read July’s update here.

The big news for this month, of course, is our $100M fundraising round! For those of you who missed it, here’s our blog post announcing the news, and discussion on the forum.

Thank you so much to everyone who helped spread the word, whether by retweeting, sharing on LinkedIn, or just telling a friend. Helping no-code succeed is a communal effort, and it’s a virtuous cycle: the more people we bring into the fold, the more robust the ecosystem and our platform can become, which brings in even more people. Our goal is to flip from a world where coding is the default starting point for software development to one where most software starts as no-code. We’re making real progress towards that tipping point, and the more hype we can generate around Bubble, our users, and the no-code community in general, the sooner we’ll get there.

We are already spending the money, mainly on hiring. We’ve been almost comically short-staffed for most of our existence as a company. That forced us to stay efficient, goal-oriented, and very close to our users and community, all of which we want to keep. But it’s also a blocker for making the kinds of revolutionary changes we want to make: frankly, making deep tech investments in our infrastructure while simultaneously adding features, fixing bugs, and staying responsive to our users is a lot of work and for the last few years we’ve been moving more slowly on every front than we’d like to be.

You won’t see the speed-ups immediately: the first-order consequences of scaling up an organization is that things move slower, not faster, as we invest in hiring, training, and organizing a ton of new people. We expect the next few months to be, if anything, less productive in terms of user-facing deliverables than prior to the round. But as the organization takes shape and people ramp up, you will all start seeing the payoff. We are very, very excited for that to happen!

On that note, we have a lot of people to welcome to the team this month:

  • Shogo and Sravani joined our engineering team
  • Grace joined our product team
  • Katherine joined as our chief-of-staff
  • Nichole joined our growth team to lead our Immerse program
  • …and tomorrow, Niki and Bhavika start on our success team, and Ian joins engineering!

If you’re interested in joining us, you can browse our list of open roles. For Bubble power users, we especially want to call attention to our success positions (continental US and western Europe). We consider previous Bubble experience a plus for any of our open roles, but it’s especially valuable on the success team, where you’ll be helping other members of the community learn Bubble and solve their problems.

Changes we made this month

We shipped a number of small product improvements:

  • When evaluating “and” or “or” expressions, we avoid unnecessarily evaluating the second half if we know the answer from the first half.
  • It’s now easier to debug capacity consumption: clicking on a point on the “Periods where the app hit its maximum capacity” chart will bring up a donut to allow drilling in on what was going on in that time period.
  • We’ve updated many of the in-editor instructional videos (many of the old ones dated back years)
  • We’ve continued to release bug fixes to version control, as well as showing more detailed descriptions of conflicts to make it easier to understand them
  • We added a “:formatted as JSON-safe” operator to make it easier to build API calls that require encoding data as JSON
  • We added an “Arbitrary Text” data source to make it easier to build dynamic expressions that start from a chunk of text
  • We made some more changes to the way we process API data to improve performance of API calls

We also added two new pages to our own website:

  • bubble.io/security: goes over frequently-asked questions about our security infrastructure and the way we protect data
  • bubble.io/diversity: our stance on diversity, equity, and inclusion at Bubble

A few things to check out on our blog:

Finally, we’re continuing to produce Quick Tip videos, including How to Use the Video Element and How to Use the Button Element

This month in numbers

  • Total number of conversations via bug reports or [email protected]: 6,331 (up 3.6%). Note: last month we reporting over 11,000: we think this was an issue with the analytics tool we’re using.

  • Total received messages: 10,461 (down 0.7%)

  • Average response time to messages: (1h 44m during business hours, down 8.2%)

  • Time to resolve bug reports escalated to the engineering team: the average lifespan of open bugs and bugs resolved in the last month is 6.2 days (down from 3.0). This is way up from last month because we had an issue with our ticketing system that was causing some tickets not to get tracked properly, leading to delays in our response time :frowning:

Things on our minds

Coming out of the fundraising round, we’re focused on execution, execution, and more execution. We have a lot of work to do to hit the ambitious goals we have for ourselves, and between hiring, on-boarding, and driving products forward, it’s a busy time.

This was not a great month for reliability: we had a few outages, as well as some code releases that had to be quickly hot-fixed because they were breaking some user apps. The longest outage was due to an DDoS attack on our systems, which we believe was motivated by an attempt at getting ransom: our engineering team was able to block the attack fairly quickly, and we learned some things and made some code changes that should help us respond even faster in the future if we get attacked again.

One way we may be able to effectively spend our new cash for short-term reliability wins is on QA: we’re exploring some options for outsourced QA that could potentially quickly move the needle on how much breaking code makes it to production.

What we’re currently working on

Our focus for this quarter is performance, and we’re doing a bunch of investigation and research to figure out where and how to invest to have the biggest impact, which will lead to spinning off new projects. We’re trying to be a bit more “measure twice, cut once” about this than we’ve been in the past, so want to make sure we’ve picked the right set of benchmarks and metrics to maximize how much our work leads to important, user-facing improvements.

Updates on our ongoing initiatives:

  • Version control reliability: as mentioned above, we released some fixes and improvements, and we expect to release more fixes this month as well.

  • Migrating some of our code to Typescript: we’re still targeting end-of-summer for this

  • SelectPDF replacement: still on ice for now.

  • New responsive design engine: as mentioned in our last update, we stretched the timeline to make some improvements to the approach. We’re making good headway executing against the revised plan. It’s going to be worth the wait!

  • The complete redesign of our editor is still in testing and bug fixing mode. We’ve been having the whole team use it internally, and have uncovered a bunch more issues in the process. In contrast to the new responsive design engine, I want to temper expectations here: we’re trying to strike the right balance between getting something shipped soon, and making sure what we ship is high enough quality that it’s viewed as a net improvement.

  • Bootcamps: our first cohort of students graduated from the Professionals bootcamp, and we’re excited to see the projects they work on for others in the community!

It’s definitely a new era in Bubble-land: thank you all for coming on the journey with us!

Best,

Josh and Emmanuel

41 Likes

Thanks for the update @josh!

:tada: Congrats on a successful fundraising round!

Welcome, everyone!

Love this! Much more transparency!

:eyes: Can’t wait for this initiative to resume

:exclamation: Can’t wait to see it!

Can’t wait to have it and start using it!

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Great news, thanks.

Do you have an ETA for the responsive engine, the new editor and the PDF replacement?

Thanks in advance :slight_smile: :computer:

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I used this recently and it was a huge help! Thank you. This is a great way to help us make our apps more energy and capacity efficient. This should help everyone out by reducing the need for capacity and figuring out where the bottlenecks are.

Really good update you guys. Way to sharpen your axe! :axe: We patiently await the new features when everyone gets onboarded and accustomed to their new positions.

Thanks!

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I love these behind-the-scene tidbits. Could you further elaborate on why you’re making this change? What was the issue before and how does Typescript solve those issues?

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This is really great news. Thanks for sharing and good luck with scaling.

Congrats to you all! (We are eagerly anticipating the release of the responsive design engine :).)

Bubble set out to invent a new way to build software that’s accessible to everyone, a journey you’d probably have to be a little crazy to even consider. Yet you guys are doing it! Freaking insane.

Take your time… then hurry up!

Thanks for the update.

Congrats on the fundraising! Certainly looking forward to the possibilities that Bubble has to offer :slight_smile:

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Well done with the funding please launch this responsive improvement as soon as possible.

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When evaluating “and” or “or” expressions, we avoid unnecessarily evaluating the second half if we know the answer from the first half .

Very happy about this. I’ve naturally tried to design conditions to work this way anyways, so its good to know they will now pay off in terms of performance.

We added an “Arbitrary Text” data source to make it easier to build dynamic expressions that start from a chunk of text

Also VERY useful, thank you for adding this.

One way we may be able to effectively spend our new cash for short-term reliability wins is on QA: we’re exploring some options for outsourced QA that could potentially quickly move the needle on how much breaking code makes it to production.

As someone who’s found a number of platform bugs so far (including a couple of security ones), and often been discouraged at the response to my reports, I’d love a bug bounty program, even if it just offered credit towards your bubble plans.

The complete redesign of our editor is still in testing and bug fixing mode. We’ve been having the whole team use it internally, and have uncovered a bunch more issues in the process. In contrast to the new responsive design engine, I want to temper expectations here: we’re trying to strike the right balance between getting something shipped soon, and making sure what we ship is high enough quality that it’s viewed as a net improvement.

I would love to be involved in the first public beta testing of this feature. The editor has a couple of major pain points that I’ve identified as an agency that improving could increase efficiency significantly. E.g. editing compound expressions is truly awful, and often means you have to rewrite the whole thing to make a minor change unless it’s the last clause.

Congrats on your funding, and I’m hoping to see it take bubble to the next level!

Congratulations and thank you as always for building this wonderful tool and community!

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Keep it up Bubble Team. We’re rooting for you.

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Awesome - love to see bubble on the top. 100% next generation of coding.

Is there a option to get into the beta for the editor? Would upgrade another plan for this as well. :slight_smile: $$$

thx

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It would be greatly appreciated if you could follow up on topics that have been officially announced but not implemented as planned.