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Monthly Community Update -- December 2021

Hi all,

This is our December community update; you can read November’s update here.

This month, we made two important additions to our leadership team: Colleen joined us to lead our People organization, and Eyal joined us to lead Finance. This is an important step forward in helping us scale up the company and deploy the capital from our last fundraise effectively, and we’re incredibly excited to have them on the team. As we’ve mentioned in previous updates, building Bubble as an organization has been our top priority, and bringing on experienced leadership to each function is a major victory on that front.

The other big focus this month has been the beta launch of our new responsive engine, which has been hugely exciting, and has generated a massive amount of follow-on work for the team in terms of investigating and fixing bugs, tracking and prioritizing feedback, and improving our documentation. We’re now working towards a full release where we make it the default for all new applications: before doing that, we want to fix all the outstanding bugs and make a number of usability improvements and feature adds based on the feedback we’ve been getting.

And of course, we’re still hiring! In addition to the leadership hires mentioned above, we’d like to welcome Maria, joining us as a Bubble developer. As always, our open roles can be found here. In particular, we’d like to call your attention to the Technical Product Support Specialist position: if you’re deep into the weeds of Bubble and want to learn the platform inside and out, this could be a great fit for you!

Changes we made this month

As mentioned above, the big change this month was the release of the responsive beta. In addition to the initial launch, we’ve shipped numerous bug fixes and usability improvements over the course of the month.

We’ve also produced eight tutorial videos walking through different aspects of the new system. You can find them at the top of the Quick Tips section of our videos page: looks for the “New Responsive” flair to see which ones are about the beta launch.

We also really appreciate the great community-produced content as well: we wanted to point out this mega-thread of tutorials to those who haven’t found it yet.

Finally, a quick caveat / reminder: upgrading a big, complicated page from the old responsive system to the new system requires a lot of work! We’re looking at improvements to our conversion algorithm, but it’s unlikely we’ll ever have a way of doing it completely automatically, because the two systems work in incompatible ways. Therefore, we strongly recommend the following:

  • Only convert one page at a time, and be sure to save a copy of the old page (there’s an option to automatically do this) so that you can easily revert back to the old responsive engine if you need to!
  • Allocate plenty of time to convert the page, and don’t put yourself in a situation where finishing the conversion will hold up a launch or important milestone for your app
  • Keep in mind this is still a beta release: there will be bugs with the new system, so test thoroughly before deploying to live and assume that you may hit temporary blockers

In addition to the responsive engine work, we’ve been pushing hard on the performance front. While most of the bigger wins are still in the works, we’ve released a number of small improvements over the course of the month, including some query optimizations for certain repeating group situations, overall speed improvements on workflow-heavy pages, and improving the editor performance for pages that use a lot of reusable elements.

We’ve also continued making small product quality improvements, such as fixing “Element isn’t pressed” and clarifying the language around “current user is logged in” vs “has account”.

On the community front, we’ve also been pushing hard to expand the no-code movement:

  • We partnered with Webflow for No-Code Conf 2021, including discussions with Emmanuel and our VP of Product Allen. We’re excited to see no-code companies uniting to beat traditional software development!

  • We’ve scaled up our bootcamps and now offer more classes, with three different formats, along with a big jump in the number of enrolled students this month.

  • We’re spending more aggressively on social media advertising: you may see more Bubble ads! If you have any feedback on how to more effectively communicate the importance of no-code, please send it our way!

  • We’re launching a referral program! While we know many of you share Bubble with others regardless of financial incentives, we want to give you a concrete token of our appreciation. Generate your unique referral link at the bottom of the “My Account” → “Marketplace” page to participate. For anyone who uses your link to sign up to Bubble, when they subscribe to a paid plan, both they and you will get a $15 Bubble credit.

  • RSVP for Immerse Demo Day on Dec 16!

  • As always, check out our blog for Apps of the Day, user profiles, and other great stories about all the fantastic stuff you all are creating!

This month in numbers

  • New conversations via bug reports or [email protected]: 7,189 (up 11.4%).

  • Average first response time to messages: 4h 40m during business hours (up 6.9%)

  • Average response time to messages: 4h 37m during business hours (up 13.1%)

  • Open tickets being investigated by the engineering team: 80

  • Of those, tickets that have been open longer than 7 days: 44

Things on our minds

We’re continuing to work on our overall response times on the success and engineering teams. As mentioned in last month’s update, we’ve made a number of process changes and improvements, which have helped. That said, this month was tough: between the responsive beta release, which led to a massive spike in support volume, and a number of new bugs caused by some of our infrastructure and technical improvements work, the total workload on the team went up significantly. So on net, we ended up treading water; our response times got slightly longer, whereas we were aiming to bring them back down.

At this point, we think the biggest lever to pull in the short-term is hiring. We’re overhauling our hiring strategy for the success team with help from our new VP of People, as well as bringing in more external recruiting help for many of our open roles. We’re also continuing to invest in Quality Assurance; our outsourced partnership is going well so far and we’re taking further steps to integrate them into our engineering workflows.

On the business side, we’re also making a strong push on marketing and our business fundamentals, and you’ll see us becoming more active on that front. We think expanding the no-code community and growing our userbase is incredibly important: we’re at a critical inflection point with the no-code movement where we have a chance to fundamentally change public perception of how software is developed, and we want to make sure that Bubble grows fast enough to be a major player. We believe that the most important thing we can do for our current community is to ensure that the Bubble ecosystem is vibrant, robust, and successful for the long-haul. That means making sure Bubble not only works financially but has enough revenue growth to continue attracting world class talent to the team, and attracts enough users to make participating the ecosystem desirable. We currently have 7 open roles on the marketing team, as well as some incoming team members we look forward to welcoming in future months!

What we’re currently working on

Our major performance push, focused on data loading and rendering, continues:

  • We’ve made significant progress on optimizing the way we handle invisible elements: our main blocker right now is expanding our test coverage ot make sure we can roll out these changes safely

  • We’re working on an ambitious project to build a complete data dependency graph of each Bubble page, and use it to load much more data upfront than we’ve done in the past, which should significantly speed up how long complicated pages with a lot of searches and repeating groups take to load

  • We have a proof-of-concept for the approach we’re taking to generating HTML and CSS upfront instead of on the fly, which we expect to yield significant rendering speed improvements.

In addition to work on performance, we’re also working on the following:

  • QA: our outsourced partners have now built 169 new tests

  • Version-control reliability: we pushed a few bug fixes this month, and are continuing to build tests and fix bugs.

  • Migrating code to typescript: the main push right now is to convert from coffee-script to javascript. 56.7% of our codebase is decaffeinated.

  • We’re working on some small improvements to our Magic Links feature: these improvements are built and are now being reviewed and tested.

  • As mentioned above, we’re continuing to work towards the full release of the new responsive engine.

From all of us at Bubble, wishing you a fantastic holiday season!

Thank you,

Josh and Emmanuel

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Really appreciate the work happening in this space @josh - thanks.

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Good update - thanks. I like the ongoing rendering optimisation efforts.

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Great job! New responsive engine makes work so much easier!

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Always hold my breath for these updates. Thank you for you and your team’s hard work!

The new responsive engine is life changing! It’s clear how speed improvements can be very empowering for app development. More from where that came from, please!

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Hi @josh! Thanks for the update. Awesome stuff going on!

What are your thoughts on keeping both responsive engines? The new one being the default for new apps and the legacy one as an option?

Or … the platform will at some point in time work only with the new engine?

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I have a few major concerns with the current development approach, which I’ve aired a few times in the past:

  1. The rollout of broken features to production without any user control.
  2. The “incompleteness” of features as they are rolled out, and the lack of prioritization based on user feedback.
  3. The abandonment of Bubble plugins.
  • Number 1 is critical for stability. Without it, Bubble becomes a liability.
  • Number 2 is frustrating to say the least. I believe there have been a million requests for specific features, yet we got a magic login link.
  • Number 3 is concerning in that many of the Bubble plugins should be built-in to the standard editor: Drag/Drop, Multi-select, etc. Some of these are so rudimentary and without versioning that to compete with native apps, we would need to write our own plugins.

I hate to be the complainer without solutions… so:

  • Versioning needs a massive improvement. I’d rather have many, many, options for versions of the engine than wake up to new bugs and angry customers. I feel more like a Bubble beta tester than a client.
  • Product roadmap needs to come back and include community voting. A list of bugs and their status should also be included in a separate roadmap.
  • Bubble plugins should be integrated into the standard editor or be open source for the community to complete/expand them.

Two last minor vents - 1. The startup promo from AWS should be available beyond 6 months. Most companies wouldn’t even find that promo in time. 2. The jump from professional to production is prohibitive… Not everyone jumps from 2 developers to 15. We just need 3 and find ourselves paying almost 5x now. Bubble is slowly becoming more expensive and more troublesome than native as we get more entrenched.

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@cmarchan, check out this response from Nick in the original thread about the new engine.

I hope that response holds true because I think Nick’s statement about it not going over well if they force users to move off of the legacy engine is a gigantic understatement. I defend Bubble every chance I get, and I think folks can be way too critical of Bubble’s approach to overcoming challenges (primarily technical in nature, but also things such as how they go about prioritizing what they are working on) that the majority of the user base (myself certainly included) can’t really comprehend. That being said, I have no intention of upgrading any of my existing apps to the new engine because I am imagining a ridiculous amount of work to get things to look right, and if Bubble were to force me to spend my time that way, it would be a very difficult pill to swallow.

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Thanks @mikeloc !

I remember reading something along these lines. The plan to keep both functional.

Just got thrown off a bit by @josh comment:

But … from both a practical and business view, it would be very hard to deal with only one engine running in the installed base.

I am pretty sure that things will work out well :+1:t2:

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Agree, the vast majority of Bubble plugins are outdated, especially the Full Calendar, Multi-File Uploader and Rich Text Editor plugins


Also, great news for better loading speeds and the new responsive engine :slightly_smiling_face: :computer:

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15 USD for referring business? You can not get a hair cut for 15 USD :slight_smile:
Many SAAS companies pay 15-30% commissions. Sometimes this commission is paid for the entire lifetime of the subscription (I personally find lifetime model excessive.)

But one time payment of 15 USD for a product which costs min 25/month is little insulting :slight_smile: especially considering if someone is going to stay at Buuble they will be staying min at PRO package.

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The startup promo from AWS should be available beyond 6 months. Most companies wouldn’t even find that promo in time.

What’s the AWS promo? :slight_smile:

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AWS activate has a promo for new users on bubble. I did not get it since I was on bubble for 6 months already despite still being a young startup.

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Thanks, I had no idea that existed. (And I’ve been a very active Bubble user for quite a while.)

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To clarify the responsive engine plan:

  • We have no plans to force apps that are currently on the old engine to move to the new engine: we are very aware of how much work that would be! We can’t commit to supporting the old engine forever, but, if hypothetically we were to decide to remove the old engine some day, we would a) give the community plenty of advanced warning (ie, likely on the order of a year or so), and b) we’d likely only consider initiating a deprecation process after the vast majority of apps had voluntarily switched over. So, no need to worry about being forced into an extremely expensive migration on short notice.
  • That said, we do plan to stop investing in the old engine: we’ll fix anything we inadvertently break, but we aren’t going to be adding new features or fixing long-standing issues. Once the new engine is out of beta, we plan to remove the option to create new blank apps using the old engine.

In other words: if you’ve already invested a lot of time into an app on the old engine, you’re going to be okay – we’re not going to pull the rug out from under you. But, we do see the new engine as the future of Bubble, and once the new engine is out of beta, we will strongly encourage that insofar as you’re starting from a blank slate, either with a new app or a new page, that you use the new engine.

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Is this mean that the speed of navigation for multi-pages app will be comparable to single page app?

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Thanks @josh for the update! :raised_hands:

Very much looking forward to the server generated HTML/CSS enhancement!

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Thanks for the update! I’m most excited about the coming changes to the new responsive engine. I’ve seen how much faster it enables the build process while also keeping things very responsive. Kudos to the team for making it happen.

:fire: :fire: :fire:


:fire: :fire: :fire:

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