Forum Academy Marketplace Showcase Pricing Features

Monthly Community Update -- January 2022

Hi all,

On behalf of the entire Bubble team, happy 2022!!! This has been an “interesting” couple of years, to put it mildly, and our New Year’s festivities are definitely dampened by Omicron sweeping through NYC (where roughly 50% of the Bubble team is currently based) as well as all the other states and countries we have team members. That said, 2021 was an immensely successful year for the no-code movement, and we are incredibly grateful for everyone who contributed to that, whether by building an app on Bubble, participating in the ecosystem, or otherwise evangelizing on our behalf!

Before going into this month’s update (which will be on the shorter side, since a lot of the team took time off around the holidays), we’d like to take a moment to reflect on the past year.

Our main focus in 2021 was maturing Bubble as a product and a company. No-code to date has been a bit of a wild west: scrappy innovators, early adopters, and forward-thinking leaders using bleeding-edge tools like Bubble to produce software orders of magnitude faster and cheaper than conventional wisdom dictated was possible. Our mentality has likewise been scrappy – the seven years we spent bootstrapping the businesses left a real mark on us – and we started 2021 with only ten engineers, which any experienced software builder will tell you is a crazy-small number relative to Bubble’s complexity.

That said, our vision for Bubble has always been to replace traditional software development: we think that no-code is the natural progression of how software gets built, and that we’ll soon see the no-code stack replacing traditional full-stack development as the go-to for new software, even at well-funded and technically savvy companies.

Achieving that vision means making Bubble robust, performant, trustworthy, and capable, and is a radical transformation that touches our team size and composition, the ways we run our business, and all aspects of our technology platform. 2021 is the year we launched that transformation in earnest. We’re still far from the end of that journey, but we hit a number of important milestones last year:

  • We grew the company from roughly 30 to 60 employees, including doubling the engineering team, building out the product function, scaling out our support and customer success, expanding our growth and marketing team, and investing in world-class leadership.

  • We raised a $100M funding round, finally giving us the financial resources commensurate with our ambitions

  • We saw a number of our users raise their own funding rounds, increasing the visibility and success of the no-code community

  • We had 708,896 new builders sign up for Bubble, an almost 100% increase from 2020

  • We hit 1.2M apps created on Bubble

  • We launched the beta of our new responsive design engine, which addresses what we perceived as the biggest weakness in our core product

Although there’s still a long way to go on platform robustness, we made major investments in the reliability and trustworthiness of Bubble, including:

  • Launching the Scheduled release tier to provide a greater degree of stability to customers trying to scale up their apps, at a more affordable price point than Dedicated

  • Onboarding an outsourced QA team to improve the quality of our releases

  • Adding better defaults for Privacy Rules to nudge the community in the direction of building secure apps

  • Fixing the majority of outstanding bugs in our version control feature

  • Completely overhauling our Rich Text Editor plugin, which at one point was the source of almost 50% of our bug reports

  • Transforming nearly all of our internal processes around support and responding to bug reports to scale with the increasing volume of users, and fixing hundreds of bugs

We also made a deep investment in performance and scalability, resulting in a number of improvements:

  • Several major improvements to how fast workflows execute: the scale of improvements varied based on how the workflows were built, but in some cases we saw workflows improving by 5X or higher, and almost all workflows saw noticeable speed improvements

  • Assorted page load and query optimizations, leading to a 40% improvement in our 80th-percentile cross-app page load metric

  • A major infrastructure project that allows us to balance applications across databases, which was critical path for scaling up our user base and results in us having a much more stable database layer than we had in 2020

  • Major improvements to search speed in our logs tab, in many cases making it go from unusably slow to relatively snappy

  • Speed-ups to processing data returned from external APIs, which used to be a major performance pain point and is now considerably more manageable

  • Some editor performance improvements, especially for pages that use a lot of reusable elements

Although adding features wasn’t our top priority in 2021, we did ship a number of small tweaks, improvement, and changes, as well as some notable releases such as:

  • The ability to bulk-delete files from the editor

  • An integration with Zapier

  • An upgrade of our Stripe integration to support SCA

  • The ability to let you handle errors when using the API connector

We also completely overhauled our written documentation and built out a video library, matured our bootcamps program and launched a coaching marketplace, and launched the Immerse pre-accelerator for BIPOC founders.

In addition to the successes, we had some setbacks as well: we decided that the editor redesign project wasn’t going to ship in a reasonable timeframe and shifted to improving the current editor instead, we didn’t get the SelectPDF replacement over the finish line, a number of our releases broke user apps in production forcing us to revert, and we had several preventable outages. That said, we’ve learned a lot from everything that went wrong, and we’re ending the year with a much more robust product and mature team than we started it with.

On a personal note, this was also a big year for the two founders: both of us welcomed baby girls, and learned how to balance parenthood with running a company (doable, not easy!) We are both immensely grateful for our families, everyone who contributes to Bubble, and all the good fortune and success we’ve had so far.

So what’s in store for 2022? We spent some time this month reflecting on what we want to accomplish. There’s a lot we want to do across all aspects of the business, but some of the major things we plan to achieve:

  • Doubling down on performance. We’re happy about the progress we made last year, but now that we have a larger engineering team, have invested in a bunch of underlying technical improvements such as converting off of coffee-script, and done a bunch of preliminary research and investigation into performance pain points, we think this is the year we can make the “Bubble is slow” meme be a thing of the past. We’d like to end the year with user-built applications running blazing fast, including solid scores on 3rd party benchmarking tools such as Google PageSpeed, and further improvements to workflow execution speed. We’d also like to speed up the editor and improve its memory performance with larger applications, and make sure that exporting, importing, and transforming data is easy and quick.

  • Getting to enterprise-grade security and compliance. We plan to go for a SOC2 certification, and potentially ISO 27001, as well as continuing to invest in GDPR and security improvements across the board.

  • 24 / 7 support coverage: our users are distributed across the world, and running production-critical applications; we need to be available and responsive globally.

  • Improving the learning curve and editor experience. We’ve been under-investing in incremental editor UX work, and want to correct that: it’s important to us that Bubble is a friendly, welcoming, easy-to-use tool for both beginners and power users. We plan to invest heavily in the editor, in our learning materials and curriculum, and in making it fast and easy to go from a blank page to a visually-appealing app.

  • Continuing to grow the team: just as we doubled the team in 2021, we want to at least double the team in 2022, so that we can level up all aspects of our business and continue the journey towards a world-class platform that completely replaces traditional application development.

We are all extremely excited for the year ahead: there’s a lot of work to do, but it’s work that we are passionate about and eager to see bear fruit. We hope your 2022 is filled with joy, success, health and happiness – best of luck and thank you once again for all your support!

Changes we made this month

We welcomed three new team members this month: Greg is joining us as a designer, and Natalie and Madeline are joining us as content writers!

As always, our open roles can be found here. Two roles to highlight for the community:

  • Technical Product Support Specialist: help us do deep investigations of user-reported bugs and issues. Does not require programming experience, but previous Bubble experience is a big plus!

  • Video Producer: help us create amazing educational content to accelerate the learning curve of new Bubblers!

We released a number of improvements to the product, including:

On the community front, we were extremely excited to see our Immerse finalists present, as well as read this fantastic coverage of the program.

On our blog, we posted eight new Apps of the Day, as well as a great profile of a long-time Bubbler who built an “AirBnB for boat docks”.

This month in numbers

  • New conversations via bug reports or [email protected]: 8,072 (up 9.6%).

  • Average first response time to messages: 6h 31m during business hours (up 41.5%)

  • Average response time to messages: 6h 18m during business hours (up 37.6%)

  • Open tickets being investigated by the engineering team: 74

  • Of those, tickets that have been open longer than 7 days: 32

What we’re currently working on

Our major performance push, focused on data loading and rendering, continues; in addition to the optimizations we released this month, we’re continuing to work on optimizing invisible elements, building a data dependency graph to optimize querying, and generating HTML and CSS upfront instead of on the fly.

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

  • Our responsive engine: we released a number of fixes and improvements this month but still have a lot we want to get through before we take it out of beta

  • QA: our outsourced partners have now built 217 new tests

  • Version-control reliability: we’re continuing to add more tests, as well as exploring some potential UI improvements

  • Our new user flow: we’re trying to optimize the number of users who successfully learn Bubble and sign up for a plan, and are doing a number of tweaks and experiments to boost the success rate.

  • Migrating code to typescript: the main push right now is to convert from coffee-script to javascript. 57.4% of our codebase is decaffeinated.

Talk to you next month,

Josh and Emmanuel

61 Likes

Thnx a lot. Only missing one thing. When working with multiple devs its difficult to see who changes what and what are the changes merged. Anything on that on the roadmap? Thats the only thing blocking us to use bubble when scaling up…

11 Likes

+1 to this, sometimes things get broken or simply disappear and with many collaborators it’s not possible to find out who did what :slight_smile:
Otherwise - it was a tremendous year and I’m sure it’ll be even a brighter one in 2022!
Thanks a lot Josh, Emmanuel and the whole Bubble team!

9 Likes

I already had major respect for you guys, but this takes it to a new level. From a fellow dad, you guys are killing it!

So happy to be here along for the ride to help the movement reach new heights in 2022. Thanks for the update!

3 Likes

Would also be amazing to have the ability to choose the region where our app is hosted on a plan besides dedicated plan where we are discussing directly with the Bubble team, maybe it could be on the professional plan and there could be a place somewhere in settings or data tab where we can see a map showing us where our app is hosting and what we can do to move our database to new location

10 Likes

It was a big year for Bubble, thanks for the hard work by everyone on the Bubble team and congratulations on becoming dads!

3 Likes

Man I am excited to see bubble become blazingly fast! Can’t wait!

7 Likes

Guys - we love your vision. Have fun and Good look for your baby girls, the team and let’s scale bubble to the moon in 2022!!

Thx for the Update

2 Likes

Yes, this is on our radar. Might end up being part of the current version control work, might end up getting bumped a little bit down the line, but definitely something we want to do eventually because we know it would be a big win.

Also something we plan to do eventually, but my guess is it may not be in 2022 unfortunately unless we make faster than expected progress on our other goals

… and thanks for the kind words, everyone!

9 Likes

Wowwww, great written. What an improvements and strategy. I love it! And going for SOC2 certification, and potentially ISO 27001 will be a huge win to enter the compliance dependent industry. Thanks Bubble team for all the hard work. Let 2022 be an amazing year!

6 Likes

Loving the new responsive engine. <3 It’s been wonderful watching bubble grow to what it now is. Much respect to the team, their hard work, persistence, and innovations.

3 Likes

is there any update on when padding will be added to the new Responsive engine?

8 Likes

The performance focus is welcome but what I don’t see here is any mention of SEO. Which is make or break for a lots of tech businesses.

3 Likes

What would you like to see in terms of SEO?

2 Likes

Congrats on the growth and hard work!
I have to ask, do you have any plans to improve plugin creator’s experience?
I mean, It would be really nice if there was a better experience searching for plugins on the marketplace.
Not only that, I feel that it would be really useful if there was a dashboard for the marketplace account section.
For instance, the ability to visualize plugin sales over time, plugin conversions, subscription cancellations, etc…
If the plugin creator could understand better what type of plugins bubble developers needs, based on data, the whole no-code community would improve together.

5 Likes

Bubble’s weekness on SEO is well documented throughout the forum. Simply search SEO on the forum and you’ll find numerous pain-points and suggestions. One thing I would like is being able to serve up static HTML to make it easier for search engines to index.

5 Likes

Now that you have an ever increasing army of people in many areas of expertise it would be awesome if you dedicated one or two employees to the plugin marketplace and plugin editor :relieved:

Through the current mechanisms we already created 20k+ features for Bubble, imagine if we had an ever improving environment :blush:

You already have most of the main ideas, sent by me and others, pretty sure there is a file somewhere in your docs with them listed :yum:

9 Likes

Re: some of the above discussion:

  • We plan to staff up across the board and work on smaller things across a lot of the product. The goals listed in the update are the big picture, must-dos, and if we have limited resources, those are the things that will still make the cut, but our hope is that we do a lot more in '22 than just just the things we listed!
  • Building out a plugin / ecosystem team is on the list for the year!
  • SEO is definitely on the list – we know it’s a big painpoint. Our perspective is that investing in performance, especially initial page load times and render speed, is probably the most impactful thing we can do on the SEO front right now, and will make a bigger difference in practice to search engines than things like better tools for managing metadata, etc., which is one of the reasons we’re prioritizing performance first. If Google Page Insights starts giving Bubble pages better scores, we think this will have a huge SEO impact.
  • Not sure re: padding, I’d suggest asking the team directly in the responsive thread
11 Likes

Compatibility with AMP pages are very helpful for us

1 Like

+100 for this. Extremely important, we use Bubble to validate or MVP’s and it’s really frustrating not to see what has changed and who was the developer. We need to validate the solution created and without having a list of what has changed it becomes really difficult. This is the main thing that is stopping us from using Bubble in a larger scale in our company.

3 Likes