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Monthly Community Update -- December 2020

Hi all,

I can’t believe it’s December already. 2020 has been an interesting year, to say the least. Anyway, here’s our final community update for the year as we go into the holidays. You can read the prior update here: Monthly Community Update -- November 2020

The big wins this month have been on the recruiting front. As I’ve mentioned in previous updates, we’ve been spending a ton of our time hiring and interviewing, and we’re starting to see the payoff: we had six accepted job offers this month (five full time and one intern), and made several more offers that are still outstanding. That’s going to bring us to roughly 35 total people: super-exciting to see all the new faces!

Changes we made this month

On the product front, most of the work was behind the scenes, but we shipped a ton of bug fixes and some small feature improvements, including:

On the education and community front, this was a busy month:

  • We released a new video course, Build Your First App, which contains 20 lessons walking you through an entire app build from start to finish! We also started releasing a series of Quick Tip videos. As always, you can find this content and more via the Bubble Academy page

  • We launched the first ever No Code Census!

  • We partnered with Makerpad for this month’s Makerpad Challenge, which got a number of great submissions

  • We’ve continued our App of the Day series with 10 new posts!

  • We launched a survey that new users receive at signup, which asks users about their previous experience with web development, what they’re trying to build, and more to better support them on Bubble.

And on the team front, we’re thrilled to welcome TJ, who joined the engineering team this morning!

This month in numbers

  • Total number of conversations via bug reports or [email protected]: 4,287 (up 9.2%)

  • Total received messages: 7,183 (up 9.2%)

  • Average response time to messages: (3h 11m during business hours, down 3.1%)

  • Time to resolve bug reports escalated to the engineering team: for bugs resolved in the last 30 days, it took on average 12.6 days for engineers to investigate and deploy a fix or find a workaround for the customer (up from 7.0)

Things on our minds

We’ve made a strong push over the last couple months to improve the responsiveness and quality of our customer support. We still have a ways to go, and we still definitely mishandle some support inquiries, but we’ve also received a number of compliments from users about improvements they’ve noticed in the quality of support, which is really gratifying. The ongoing work we’re doing to improve here involves iterating on our processes around bug report tickets, and doing some deep dives into our Front metrics to find additional opportunities to improve.

On the reliability front, I was hoping to report the second month in a row where we’ve had almost no downtime or bad releases – and then yesterday happened. I want to extend our sincere apologies as a team to all the users whose apps were impacted by yesterday’s bugs and outages: we all feel really bad when something like that happens. In an unfortunate bit of irony, one of the main sources of problems yesterday was a code rollout marking a key milestone in our project to split the main cluster into an Immediate and Scheduled tier, which is precisely to mitigate the impact of bugs like this on applications that are past the prototyping stage and starting to rely on having a stable platform. The good news is that project is on track for a release this month.

Also on the reliability front, we’re continuing to fix problems with version control by migrating assets to our new, version-control-friendly asset-building system, although there’s still more work to do before the feature is as reliable as we’d like it to be.

What we’re currently working on

New initiatives since the last update:

  • We’re working on a new workflow performance improvement that should make chains of “Make changes to thing…” and “Create new thing…” actions run significantly faster. We expect this to ship sometime in the next couple weeks.

  • We’ve started building out a coaching platform to connect Bubble users with Bubble coaches (drawn from the community), to make it easier for coaches to connect with new bubblers who might be interested in their help. Today, a lot of new Bubble users don’t even know that coaching is an option: to fix that, we plan to advertise coaching as part of the onboarding experience. We hope to have a beta version out this month.

Updates on our ongoing initiatives:

  • Our inaugural cohort of Immerse participants are working hard on their companies: RSVPs are still open for the demo day

  • Partnerships efforts are ongoing. One thing we’re learning is that an effective way to partner with schools, universities and non-profits is to offer bootcamp deals. Reach out to the team if that’s something you’d like to discuss.

  • Our bootcamp program is growing, with more spots every month and a first version of our standardized curriculum. Thanks to all the instructors who are helping us refine it. If you are interested in being an instructor, please reach out to us. We’re also starting localized versions in different languages (French, Mandarin, Spanish)

  • We’ve gotten a bunch of feedback on the prototype of our new responsive engine. Our main takeaway is that the prototype represents a much better way to create responsive layouts than our current Responsive tab in the editor, but that because it forces new users to immediately think in terms of responsive design from the get-go (versus our current system, which lets you punt the question of responsive until you’ve finished creating the page), it makes the learning curve for getting started in Bubble harder, which isn’t good. We’re looking into a couple possible directions to move forward in: we’re doing a quick exploration of a completely different way of handling responsive design that we think might be easier to learn, we’re considering a two-mode option similar to the current system where you can go back and forth from working with the responsive layout and just free drawing elements, and we’re also seeing if there are modifications we can make to the prototype to make it more self-explanatory.

  • We’re making progress on merging the Bubble reference into the manual: we have eyes on where we want the content to go, and now it’s a matter of getting it there and opportunistically updating it to make it clearer.

  • We’re building a CRM (using Bubble, of course) to help our success team create ongoing context about users and their apps. We’ve laid out the data structure and are working on the design, and expect to have something demo-able for the team sometime this month.

  • Moving more of our asset-building to the new system: we’ve moved over a few more assets, and are on track to be finished by the end of the year.

  • Moving apps between different databases is alive again: we now have an engineer working on it full time, and are expecting to release an early version this month, which should help with our overall scalability and performance.

  • Splitting the main cluster into two release tiers, Immediate and Scheduled, is on track to be released this month: we’ve already deployed some of the code for it, as mentioned above.

  • Our Zapier plugin is still waiting on Zapier for approval: they’ve been pointing out a few minor edge cases and potential improvements, which we’ve been adding as they point them out to us. We appreciate their thorough process, and are excited to ship a polished integration!

  • The complete redesign of our editor is on track for entering QA this month! Our goal is for at least some of our users to be using it full-time as their primary Bubble editor by the end of next quarter.

  • Hiring: we are actively looking for engineers, designers, a technical recruiter, and members of the Success team!

Thanks, everyone – as always, we appreciate all the support from the community, and recognize that we wouldn’t be where we are today without your enthusiasm and patience. In our all-hands meeting yesterday, Emmanuel and I spent some time reflecting on what we’re thankful for, and our users were near the top of the list for both of us. Hope you all have a great holiday season,

Josh and Emmanuel

46 Likes

Good, detailed write-up. Exciting to see the growth and success of Bubble, great work @josh and the Bubble team :+1:

4 Likes

Thanks, @Bubble. Great work :grinning: :computer:

1 Like

Yes! This takes forever, so glad this is on the list of things to get done. When I was creating my Zeldina game, this was one of the frustrating parts. I had to copy a list of things to make it faster. It will be great to not have to do a work around. :blush: Creating 240 blank new things took forever. Can’t wait to see how much it improves! :+1:

Thanks for all your hard work! :blush:

@j805 www.NoCodeMinute.com

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4 Likes

Great update as always @josh! Thanks for the hard work and an early Merry Christmas to all!

Is this regarding multiple development versions? I know there’s issues with merging one dev version to another, just not sure its what you’re talking about here.

Great update. As always, I appreciate the transparency and trust the bubble team.

Thanks Josh!

Another sold month!

The Zapier integration is going to completely reinvent the way we can work with Bubble :fire:

@josh - Thank you for this detailed update. I’m working with the support team right now, and I can confirm that the team is not only responsive but also thorough.

I’m curious if any improvements to the Airtable plugin are on the near-term roadmap? I’m working with support through one bug right now, but overall I use the plugin extensively and its super powerful. I know the plugin is in beta, and I’d be happy to share some thoughts from my experience using it thus far. Just one small example, it would be awesome if there were a way to save field types instead of having to reinitialize each field each time I want to make a change to one field. Would this be the right forum to share or is there a feature/idea board (I’m relatively new to Bubble)?

@eren1 Great suggestion! Check out our ideaboard here: https://bubble.io/ideaboard. You should definitely submit this and any other ideas :slight_smile: