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Monthly Community Update -- August 2022

Hi all,

This is our August community update! Read last month’s update here.

This was a pretty execution-focused month for the team. As we’ve mentioned in past updates, growing the team has been a big priority for us, and ate up a lot of our collective bandwidth earlier in the year. While we are still actively hiring, we are now starting to see real dividends from the past hiring and onboarding work we’ve done. New faces are now slightly less new, and we are seeing a noticeable uptick in how fast we are able to ship product improvements, which is very exciting. We would still describe outselves as stretched thin relative to our goals, and there’s still lots of areas we would like to be better staffed, but we are no longer quite the skeleton crew of a year ago and it shows in our overall progress as a business.

We’re also keeping a careful eye on the overall macroeconomic conditions: as you may be aware, a lot of technology companies have been doing rounds of layoffs in response to venture capital and public funding drying up. We are in a relatively strong position compared to a lot of other companies because our most recent funding round was large compared to our team size, and because we have a baked-in culture of spending discipline that dates back to our bootstrapping days when we had to run Bubble profitably. So unlike many of our peers, we are continuing to hire and invest in the company and product, but we are erring on the conservative side and watching our runway carefully.

This also means that it’s important for us to keep growing our revenue, both by expanding the pool of Bubblers and by helping our current users succeed and grow their own businesses. Our plans for continuing to grow our team are contingent on strong revenue growth over the next few quarters, because we want to make sure our business results are stellar enough to ensure access to additional capital as needed and/or to get us to profitability without cutting costs. We know that our success or failure as a company does not just impact us: it impacts all of you. As such, we are committed to building Bubble into a long-term successful company so that we can keep improving on our product.

To aid in this mission, we are excited to have welcomed the following people to the team in July:

  • Jonathan, joining us on the Success team
  • Nicole, joining the Marketing team
  • Danielle, joining as an Executive Assistant
  • Claire, joining us as an Engineering Manager

If you’d like your name to appear on this list, our open roles can be found here. We always value previous Bubble experience when hiring, particularly for our Technical Product Support Specialist role.

Changes we made this month

The increase in product velocity mentioned above showed up in a number of releases this month:

In addition to the product improvements, we are excited to announce a partnership with Microsoft for Startups offering $3000 in Bubble credits to qualifying startups in the Microsoft Founders Hub.

We also teamed up with Stripe in a joint livestream to walk through how you can integrate Stripe (via plugin and the API Connector) for payments, subscriptions, and the new Stripe Customer Portal.

Finally, we updated our free, popular Responsive “Bird Game” with MORE puzzles teaching you the width properties! If you haven’t tried Bubble’s responsive editor, this is a great way to learn the new controls.

This month in numbers

  • New conversations via bug reports or [email protected]: 9,045 (up from 8,709).

  • Average first response time to messages: 1h 45m during business hours (down 17.8%)

  • Average response time to messages: 1h 43m during business hours (down 20.3%)

  • Tickets closed by the engineering team in the past 30 days: 95 (down from 121)

  • Average days to closure for tickets closed by the engineering team: 48.9 (up from 19.9 days)

  • Average days to closure for high priority tickets: 6 (down from 6.8 days)

Things on our minds

Most of July went smoothly from a reliability perspective, but the last week was rough: we had a number of infrastructure issues that led to downtime for a significant percentage of our user base. The issues were scaling related, rather than caused by code releases: we discovered a couple of new ways that rapidly-growing user apps can put pressure on our systems and lead to outages. We are still in the process of implementing longer-term fixes for these problems, but we believe that we have mitigations in place and that systems are now stable.

On a brighter note, we have been keeping track of the number of bugs introduced by our releases, and we are seeing those numbers trending downward, demonstrating that a lot of the reliability initiatives have been working. We hope to continue this trend going into next month!

What we’re currently working on

Following up on our latest post about pricing, we are continuing to do technical work on capacity and auto-scaling. As mentioned in that post, we intend to do further rounds of community feedback once we have completed the technical investigation work, and do not anticipate releasing anything disruptive that would jeopardize anyone’s ability to build on Bubble.

Other ongoing workstreams:

  • We’ve been working on updates to the ‘Contact Us’ and ‘Support Center’ experiences on bubble.io. The new ‘Contact Us’ homepage will make it easier to connect with the right team at the right time. The new ‘Support’ page will reorganize our Support Articles into popular topics and improve the search bar. When you are ready to contact our Support team, our ‘Contact’ and ‘Report a bug’ forms will include updated fields that will enable us to help you more quickly and more accurately.

  • Our work on an improved version control interface continues: we now have final designs for the initial launch, and are continuing to do engineering work

  • We did not release changes to the way we generate HTML in July as planned, but have completed all the development work and will likely release this month. This will be an intermediary release that will still involve on-the-fly generation of the HTML, but will lead to significant performance improvements and pave the way for future work. We are likely not going to immediately follow this up with pushing toward generating HTML and CSS on the server, because we’ve identified a few technical prerequisites that we want to work on first, but we do expect this release to be worthwhile in its own right, and down the line we do plan to return to generating HTML and CSS server-side once we have made the necessary infrastructure investments.

  • We are holding off on releasing performance optimizations to make bulk data manipulation via backend workflows faster because testing revealed some issues with our approach. We are investigating to see if there are ways to work around those issues.

  • For the overhaul of our network architecture and infrastructure, we are starting with improving our credentials and configuration management. We have finished researching the approach we are taking and nearing a proof of concept.

  • In order to increase our overall reliability, we are working on the way our alerting and observability systems work, so that we can be more proactive about tackling impending problems.

  • We are working to improve how easy and fast it is to build beautiful apps on Bubble. The project involves improvements to managing colors and fonts across the app, and a replacement of our under-used element templates feature with a more mature component system. This workstream led to the release mentioned above of style variables, and we will likely see more releases this month.

  • Our push to migrate code of CoffeeScript continues; we are now down to 34.4% CoffeeScript in our main codebase.

Happy Bubbling,

Josh and Emmanuel

49 Likes

Thanks for the update @josh! I enjoying reading them every month! :blush:

4 Likes

@josh It would be awesome to have a component library that developers could contribute to. Sort of like the plugin page and templates page. Allowing us to build beautiful designs that others could purchase per element.

Are you guys considering something like this? I think that would help with design a lot.

7 Likes

I’ve definitely felt a shift to a more mature and systematic approach to things internally in Bubble, so your hard work there is paying off :slight_smile: I’ve noticed more momentum with improvements and I think within the next 12 months we will see Bubble really be able to hold it’s own against natively coded apps, especially as performance improvements are coming and with the new responsive engine.

This should make it easier for investors to take Bubble built apps seriously - I’m excited to see more ‘serious’ apps built (and remain!) on Bubble :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

I’m hoping as this brings a lot more people to Bubble we can keep pricing reasonable as the numbers keep it viable.

I still feel really strongly that the no brainers for pricing are:

  1. Overages for capacity
  2. Nominal charge to add more collaborator seats without upgrading plan (i.e $10/month per additional seat - people will pay an extra seat or two instead of sharing logins for sure! Easy money!)
  3. Small increase to current pricing tiers - like $2/month. Surely that becomes quite a chunk of money with all the accounts??

Point 1 & 2 people will actually THANK you for! And point 3 no one would really mind terribly. Surely that would give you an extra $200-$300K PER MONTH at least (potentially more, I have no idea how many apps on a paid plan Bubble have but surely more than 100K??)

10 Likes

Thanks for the great update!

2 Likes

We are contemplating this! No decision made, and we want to see how the launch of our own component library goes, but assuming it goes smoothly, extending it to support community-built components would be a logical next step.

Number 1 is definitely in the works – that was the loud and clear message we heard when we talked about this with the community. Number 2 is a possibility, but right now we want to focus on doing the technical work to support capacity overages / auto-scaling and go from there.

11 Likes

Thanks for the update as always,

Please, tell me you’re considering the “app in container” approach (as in : deploying every app with their own ressources). On the technical side, kubernetes manages this perfectly and for your clients : No impact from other apps on the same cluster, can come with new pricing structure and infinite scalability and most important for a lot of customers (most of them don’t know it yet but it’s coming) : Compliance with their country’s legalislations. We had to move all our db to external providers (like xano (google), azure, etc) just because Canada is implementing strict data ownership laws and we can’t afford bubble’s actual dedicated pricing.

Your clients are international and for so many reasons, containers would put bubble in a class by itself and make it the go to solution (even more for people hesitating between open source/self-hosted alternatives vs bubble).

1 Like

It’s great to see the steady stream of improvements small and large coming through. I echo @equibodyapp 's comments that Bubble appears to be upping its game across the board.

The final core thing I’m waiting for is expanding the range of searches that can be run server side (like a list-to-list search, nested search, or intersection of multiple searches). This would greatly increase scalability and speed.

3 Likes

Amazing product improvements overall!

But especially looking forward to these

+1 on the community contributed or some form of team library.

I have seen the wireframes. So excited!

Thanks
Zubair

1 Like

Super excited about this!

Will it include a much easier way to have a light and dark version of your app that the user can switch between? E.g. two main themes that can be applied dynamically instead of having to do conditionals on individual UI elements?

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Hi

Always, happy to know the updates about Bubble and always excited to try new features.
I have observed great deal of improvements in the last months and I think in general backend has also been a little faster. I also really like the new paranthesis approach, it makes it easier to teach to new developers. I have also noticed that investors are beginning to show good interest in bubble platforms.

There are two things I would suggest. You know (my two cents)
-Hipaa compliace
-An of course, native application Builder. (bubble-feature, not a third-party)
-+1 On library
I think these two things would revolutionary.

Thanks, Ali :slight_smile:

Why is this a goal of the Bubble dev team? What is the benefit of generating HTML and CSS on the server?

My guess would be speed: as the client (browser on laptop/phone) doesn’t have to parse all the javascript to know how to display the page. This could save seconds from a page load. Also makes it easier for crawlers (such as Google) to parse the site. Which could lead to higher pageranking (especially together with improved speed).

Am interested to know how they will deal with knowing how which content on a page can be made static and which needs to stay dynamic (eg: a page title stored in database can be treated static for a certain time (cached), but a filtered list needs to stay dynamic to ensure displaying current data).

1 Like

Love these updates! Thanks!

Hey Zubair,

Can you point us to those wireframes you saw re: version control?!

It was one of their user interviews. Bubble reaches out to people at random and have a call with them to ask for feedback

1 Like