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Monthly Community Update -- July 2020

Hi all,

This is the latest in our series of monthly community updates (Here’s the previous one).

This month was mostly focused on heads-down, tactical execution for us: a lot of incremental but important progress, a few key releases and milestones, and some new faces on the team.

Changes we made this month

We rolled out another major milestone in our efforts to make Bubble fast and scalable: we can now arbitrarily scale out server capacity on our main Bubble cluster. We’ve taken advantage of this to increase our total size and optimize user-facing capacity, which has been led to some noticeable speed-ups for common operations. For instance, for an app on the professional plan with no additional capacity, loading a list of 100 results from the iTunes API via our servers went from taking around 600 ms to taking around 200 ms. We’re also seeing that total capacity usage by all our apps went down on average by about 66% for an equivalent amount of usage. Given that we’ve been investing a bunch of engineering effort in building out our systems, it’s nice to see some quantitative impact.

It hasn’t been totally smooth sailing: the project that led to the above improvements also led to a major outage on the 23rd, where the main Bubble cluster was unavailable for over 5 minutes. But the bug that led to that outage is fixed and won’t happen again, whereas the performance gains are here to stay.

This isn’t the last of the performance and scalability wins: we’re working on a couple of follow-on projects that this unlocks, but it’s a nice milestone.

Also on the infrastructure front, we upgraded our LetsEncrypt implementation to the latest version of the ACME standard, which doesn’t have much user-facing benefits but was necessary to keep SSL working as they phased out the old version on their end.

In additional to our backend engineering, we also did some feature work:

We also continued to push on reliability and bug fixes; among other things, we moved the code that builds our responsive layouts off of the old, buggy indexer system and onto our new asset-generation system, which should eliminate a frequent source of disappearing elements in run-mode and was one of the major reasons version control merges sometimes resulted in corrupted apps.

We’ve also kept running our new system for having more engineers staffed on bug fixing and having them directly respond to customers, which we rolled out near the end of May. The results have been impressive in terms of numbers; we went from an average of 19 - 20 days for bug reports to be investigated by the engineering time to closer to 3 days.

In terms of outreach and resources for the community, we:

Finally, on the team front, we hired two new members of the customer success team (welcome Jessica, who started this week, and Carla, who starts later this month) as well as a Partnerships manager (Kim, starting later in the summer). And @cal on the engineering team switched from being a part-time intern to a full-time employee: excited to have him fully on board!

This month in numbers

  • Total customers who reached out to us through bug reports or [email protected]: 1,522 (0% difference from last 30 days)

  • Total received messages: 2,852 (up 2% from last 30 days)

  • Average response time to messages (5h 29m counting only our work hours; 12h 38m in absolute terms)

  • Total bug reports: 585 (down 16% from last month)

  • Time to resolve bug reports escalated to the engineering team: for bugs resolved in the last 4 weeks, it took on average 2.3 days for engineers to investigate and deploy a fix or find a workaround for the customer.

Things on our minds

  • We’ve been very happy with the initial uptake of our bootcamp program: we’ve sold over 150 tickets, and the first two cohorts completed their courses last week. It demonstrates the value of having a live human help someone new to the no-code space over some of the initial hurdles, and we’re planning on continuing to invest in this going forward.

  • We’re still very much pushing on the stability theme we’ve mentioned in the last couple updates. We’re past the initial stages of reorienting and putting resources against it, and now into the day-to-day grind of fixing bugs, prioritizing stability-related projects, and otherwise investing in it. We’re still not happy with the state of our version control feature, although some of the releases this month we believe have reduced (though not eliminated) many of the bugs with it, and plan to continue doing work on it this month.

  • With the recent protests in New York and across the world, we’ve been very conscious of the Black Lives Matter movement, and have been thinking about what our contribution should be as a company to making a more inclusive world. Our thinking is that we should double-down on our mission to make technology more accessible, and focus on what we bring to the table, which is lowering the barriers for people to participate. We’d like to do more to help people from underrepresented groups succeed in Tech, and we have some things we’re working on that we’ll hopefully be able to announce in the next month or two

What we’re currently working on

  • On the performance and scalability front, we’ve now completed about 60% of our project to seamlessly transfer apps between databases in our main cluster without causing disruption to the app, which was in the planning stage as of last update.

  • We’re continuing to work on the transition to our new asset-building system for doing calculations on top of application data. The goal for the next couple weeks is to transition over the issue checker, which would allow us to run it on the server instead of in the editor browser window, which we expect to be a major win for editor performance. We continue to see this project as critical path for resolving some of the bugs with our version control feature.

  • Our Google Optimize integration is almost ready to enter beta-testing

  • We’re building out internal metrics on reliability to help us track our progress over time and pinpoint where the most impactful work to be done is.

  • We’re in the final testing stages on our overhaul of the code that powers the Input element, which should lead to increased reliability, and better behavior on Android.

  • The redesign of our homepage is mostly done and will likely be rolled out this month

  • We’re working with our legal team to revise our terms to lower the minimum age for using Bubble to 13 (with parental consent).

The two big multi-month projects we’ve been working on are still ongoing:

  • The complete redesign of our editor is making steady progress: we’ve finished the Design tab and Settings tab, and are mostly done with the Workflow tab.

  • We’re doing a ground up overhaul of all our educational and reference content, including the reference, manual, and video tutorials.

Finally, on the team front, in addition to Jessica and Carla, our goal is to hire a 3rd new member of the success team this month. We’re also actively searching for Growth Managers.

Thank you to everyone in our community – we’re always incredibly grateful for everything you put into the platform, and look forward to seeing all the stuff you build this month!

– Josh and Emmanuel

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Thanks for keeping making Bubble better everyday, couldn’t be happier with how it is and with what the future holds.

Congrats to the Bubble Team :smiley:

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Each of these updates adds wind to the sail. Thanks for doing this Josh, it really is valuable! The speed improvements are self evident. Great work!

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As always, awesome updates! Thanks for the level of transparency!

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Thanks ! And welcome to new staff :slight_smile:

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Legendary!

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The only problem is now I have to hang out for another month for the next update

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Also with speed it’s been very noticeable and i believe also the editor is pretty swift at the moment

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Fantastic update, thank you. The speed improvements are game changing!
Can’t wait for the issue checker transition so I can finally quit having to rely on &issues_off=true :blush:

And thank you for your support of BLM. Excited to hear where you take this.

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Nice detailed update and it’s great to see the focus of performance and reliability at the forefront.

Back in June’s update you mentioned:

We’re still not happy with the reliability of our version control feature. We’ve made a lot of progress on the new system for doing app calculations, but there’s still a lot of work remaining, and we suspect that after we finish the project there will be a couple rounds of additional bug fixes before it is as stable as we want it to be. We know this is a really high-impact feature for a lot of users, so we want to get this up to our quality standards as soon as we can.

Just wondering how things fair at the moment with version control and merging versions/branches along with if there is any timeframe for resolution? Its a feature we really want to put to good use but at the moment feel its a bit unreliable, especially in large scale projects, thanks.

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Impressive update!

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keep those coming ! Exciting platform

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Excellent! :hugs: all around. Thanks for the transparency and sharing the roadmap.


My favorite quote:

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Can’t wait for this :blush:

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We’ve been steadily knocking off sources of bugs, but I don’t think we’re done yet. Once we’ve fixed everything we’re aware of, our plan is to do another round of testing and probably solicit help from power users of the feature to make sure that it’s reliable in practice

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Love these updates!

Thanks for making a product that allows us to move fast. I’m about ready to launch v1 to beta users and couldn’t have done it this fast without the tool. Congrats!

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Super exciting! Is it gonna be a restyling of the current functionality, or can we expect new editor functionality as well? Thanks!

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The initial launch is mostly going to just be restyling, but it’ll pave the way for follow-on releases with new functionality

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Awesome! Thanks a lot for making all of these efforts transparent. :+1:

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Hi Josh,

Hope you will eventually implement something similar to Flexbox that automatically takes care of responsiveness while scaling down to smaller screens.

A few examples outlined below.

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