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Monthly Community Update -- October 2022

Hi all,

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

This was another solid month of execution and shipping features! A lot of great work happened across Bubble in September, and we feel that we are settling into a rhythm as an almost-one-hundred-person company. We were thrilled to welcome a new head of Finance, Jing, who completes our overall leadership team, and while there are always growing pains at a company our size, in general we have been operating more smoothly and with higher output than we have in the past.

We were very excited to participate in the Nocode Summit in Paris over the past couple days. Emmanuel presented during the opening ceremony and also gave a longer talk, and we had a few other members of the Bubble team in attendance as well. By all accounts, the turn-out was fantastic and the energy level was very high: there’s a lot of excitement about no code in Europe right now and it was great to tap into that and meet some of you in person.

In addition to Jing joining us to lead Finance, we welcomed the following members to the team:

  • Shaahana joined us as a Product Design Intern
  • Yiran and Salil joined as Software Engineering Interns
  • Henry re-joined us as a Product Manager (he had previously interned with us as an engineer)
  • Yi joined as a Software Engineer
  • Zayn joined as our Immerse Program Management Associate
  • Eloise joined as a Sales Development Representative
  • Eram joined as a Technical Product Support Specialist
  • Carly joined as the Director of Product Marketing

As always, open roles can be found here, and we especially encourage community members with solid Bubble skills and a love for helping people to join us as Technical Product Support Specialists

Changes we made this month

We’re excited to announce a new and improved form for job requests, replacing our old request for proposal form. If you want a Bubble professional or agency to help you with your project, the new form helps guide you through key questions and sends your projects out to relevant agencies. Agencies who are part of the RFP system now also have better filtering on projects. One repeat piece of feedback we heard about the old system was that posters were overwhelmed by the number of proposals, many of which were generic. These changes are geared towards driving fewer, more relevant proposals, something that we will continue to iterate on with our fantastic ecosystem of agencies and professionals.

Another fun announcement this month is that we are starting an annual program to donate to Open Source software projects, as an effort to give back to the software communities that enable Bubble to exist.

In the product, we released the following:

  • A Bubble-native way of creating tag lists with Repeating Groups, or any other use case that benefits from variable-width, auto-wrapping Repeating Group cells

  • Global color variables, making it easy to change colors across your entire app in a single click! No more editing tens or hundreds of styles and elements whenever you change a color in your design.

  • Taking advantage of color variables, we updated our default styles for new apps, so that Bubble’s out-of-the-box styles will be better looking and easier to customize. As part of that release, we also added the ability to customize the placeholder colors for inputs.

  • We made some much-requested improvements to Group Focus behavior to make it easier to build things where clicking an element both shows and hides the group.

We are also very excited to launch a comprehensive video course on using APIs in Bubble applications. This is the definitive resource on what APIs are, how they work, and how to use the Bubble API Connector to bring them into your app!

This month in numbers

  • New conversations via bug reports or [email protected]: 9,792 (up 1.6%).

  • Average first response time to messages: 1h 24m during business hours (down 7.8%)

  • Average response time to messages: 1h 26m during business hours (down 2.3%)

  • Tickets closed by the engineering team in the past 30 days: 111 (down from 148)

  • Average days to closure for tickets closed by the engineering team: 12.2 (down from 21 days)

  • Average days to closure for high priority tickets: 2.4 (down from 7.3 days)

Things on our minds

As we enter the final quarter of 2022, we are beginning to think through our priorities for the upcoming year. One thing that continues to be top-of-mind for us is growing our customer base and revenue: as a venture-backed startup in rocky economic times, we want to be leaning into our business results to make sure that we continue to have access to capital to invest in our team. As mentioned in previous updates, we are fortunate enough to have raised a lot of cash last year, so unlike other tech companies, we are not looking at cost-cutting or layoffs, but to maintain this strong position for the long-term, and build the product and community we really want to create, it’s important that we continue to be a fast-growing company from a top line perspective.

What this translates to in practice is a lot of focus on onboarding new users and turning them into customers, via an overhaul of our signup flow, experimentation with different forms of free trials, in-editor onboarding and education, and features that make it faster for users to build useful apps such as the component library we are working on. It also involves making sure we retain our more successful users and help them grow on us, which is why we’re investing in version control, deep technical improvements to systems performance, the new pricing model with auto-scaling capacity, and building out our sales and technical success management organizations. Finally, we are working on overhauling our marketing and messaging, as well as investing in our community and ecosystem, which we see as our most powerful growth lever.

As always, we are planning for the long term: we want the Bubble platform to be empowering people to create software twenty years from now. Getting there is a delicate balance of short-term commercial success, longer-term investments in our product and technology, building the team, and managing our cash runway. We feel very lucky to have such a great team already, a generous bank account, an amazing community and ecosystem, and a product we are very proud of (even though there’s so much more we want to build!)

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. Our focus right now is on making improvements to the way we track capacity usage to ensure that the metric is stable with respect to changes we make to our code: we have had incidents in the past where a bug we release or a change we make significantly impacts the capacity usage of applications, and want to reduce the degree to which capacity usage fluctuates over time prior to enabling auto-scaling. This stabilization work should be behind-the-scenes: the total capacity usage of applications should not significantly change, and instead should become more stable moving forward. We are in the middle of the backend work to make this change, which is substantial and involves adding some new database technologies to our stack.

Other ongoing workstreams:

  • We are working on our new components system to improve how easy and fast it is to build beautiful apps on Bubble. We have it built and are currently testing it! In parallel, we are working on onboarding tutorials to help users learn about it and how to use it.

  • Our work on an improved version control interface continues: we are doing internal testing on many of the features, as we finish building out the remainder.

  • For the overhaul of our network architecture and infrastructure, we are starting with improving our credentials and configuration management. Our first production system will soon be using the new system; we were aiming for end of September, and it is now more likely going to be early October.

  • In order to increase our overall reliability, we are working on the way our alerting and observability systems work. We finished testing our proof-of-concept, and are finalizing the plan for rolling it out to the company.

  • Our push to migrate code of CoffeeScript continues; we are now down to 15.0% CoffeeScript in our main codebase. Typescript is now up to 3.9%, with the remainder being Javascript. We are bumping up the priority of this work, with the hope of getting through it and onto other technical improvements that are enabled by it.

Happy October,

Josh and Emmanuel

49 Likes

First! Yay!

Happy spooky season, fam :ghost:

Have been struggling with each of these over the last year, so super happy to see them addressed. Please keep these types of product improvements coming!

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Excited for it!

Awesome updates!

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@josh Appreciative of the monthly updates. Can I beg a moment of your time for two items:

  1. Could give a brief comment on this topic: Operation timed out

  2. Please consider putting some energy next year aimed at improving the Bubble platform for developers (e.g. Plugin Builders). If you scan the forums you see many requests for agencies and developers. Even the annoucement on this post suggests the same

Making Bubble a more developer friendly platform will indeed ensure that 20 years from now we will all still be here with you and the team. There are some improvements that seem straight-forward that would vastly improve the “developer experience” and ecosystem (e.g. being able to define custom data types within plugins).

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Kudos for all the great work you guys are building at Bubble.

@josh Speaking of venture-backed startups, I was wondering if you are interested in starting a Bubble Community Equity Crowdfunding round of investment.

I know that you guys don’t need any more investment at this point, but it’s more about building a stronger relationship with the community and giving them the opportunity to invest and own a stake in Bubble. There are a few platforms that can be used for that ex WeFunder and Republic.

It’s not a new thing Mercury Bank for example after raising $120M in Series B launched an Equity Crowdfunding campaign for their early stage customers and raised $5M.

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Oh, hell yeah… what @salama said for sure. If Bubble opened a round where the community could invest, I would throw money at them so fast their heads would spin. Come on, Bubble, take my money!

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Well, us, the community, are already the biggest investor in Bubble. Assuming Bubble has 50000 apps on the basic $29/month plan, that’s $1.45 million we invest into Bubble every month. The real figure is most likely 2 or 3x this amount.

Unlike institutional investors, we don’t:

  1. Ask for a board seat
  2. Ask for company shares
  3. Breath down the founders neck asking for a 10x return in 5 years
  4. Force absurd price hikes chasing revenue

Instead, we, the community

  1. Invest our own, hard earned money into Bubble every month
  2. Provide feedback to improve the product
  3. Create plugins and functionality making Bubble 10x better (not me, but the hardworking developers)
  4. Happily tell the world about Bubble and refer new users whenever possible, providing invaluable marketing, all free of cost

If Bubble was serious about engaging the community on a closer level, then a good starting point would be to build trust by not breaking our apps at least once a month, taking the ideaboard seriously, giving more love to the developers who actually put in the time to fill in the gaps Bubble hasn’t found the time to.

Other nocode tools are moving and improving at amazing speed, so it’s good to see Bubble picking up speed with product improvements. Hopefully this is only the start.

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It’s true, back on Aug 19th they pushed an update that effectively prevented any backend workflows from running for 4+ hours. Very few people on that thread seemed to care about how big of a deal that is.

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This is major. Please let us have it in experimental as soon as you can :+1:

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Hey @josh

Does this mean we will be able to have Bubble in Europe servers early October like you said in the post below?

That would be super awesome.

How is the transition going to be like when you already have an app in production?

Thanks a lot and have a good day.

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+1 for in country hosting in Australia too! will be a game changer for so many of us outside the US.

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Yeah…very interested too

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same here

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Hey Josh, thanks for the update.

Interesting to see this one.

I assume it is something like what teams at Airdev, OpenBuild, or Frames have done? For example pre-built components Signup/Login or Contact Us form which you can drop on the page and add a couple of workflows and you’re all set-up?

Maybe we’ll be able to a see teaser for these components soon :wink:

Hey obviously I don’t have any insight into the precise details of what the team is doing, but in the spirit of madewithframes.com, I think that this is going to be much more granular and lower level than what the existing signup/login form is now. I think the central idea is going to be that you can drag and drop ready made components like individual buttons/toggles, sliders, and pre-configured styles are assigned to those components. What this would do is allow the bubble tool to feel more like a design tool and make us as developers feel like we are putting individual lego bricks together to make our app.

Right now without the components system it can feel that we have to design the lego bricks individually before putting them together. By opening up a components system to the community, individuals can, I imagine, distribute ready made components to the community that can then be utilized to create beautiful apps.

I personally have never been a huge fan of templates because ultimately if you want even a slightly different design you have to essentially throw away what the template has offered you. This components system is very exciting because it is sort of a middle ground. Again, I don’t know exactly what this is going to be, but I feel it has the potential to be a game changer if it is what I think it is.

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  1. I’d love to see the EU location becoming a priority as there a serious legal implications for some of us while using US servers.
  2. Good news on the versioning.
  3. I’d love to have more granular control of my dev team to set access to certain pages on a user level.
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Hmm, I see.

Make sense I guess, for Bubble to target designers as well with this new component system. But if this will help out all Bubble developers to actually design beautiful apps and different cool effects/transitions more easily count me in. :slight_smile:

Thanks for all the comments and feedback! A couple quick reactions:

  • First, some bad news: the October launch of improvements to our credentials and configuration management does not get us to global hosting on self-serve plans. I know how important that is to a lot of you, so I want to avoid painful misunderstandings here! That launch is one key step on a long roadmap of infrastructure improvements that will eventually get us there, but there’s enough work past that point that I’d be hesitant to give an expected delivery date. Sorry, I know that’s not what you were hoping to hear, but didn’t want there to be any confusion. As a reminder, for people who need hosting outside the US today and can afford our Dedicated configurations, you can contact sales to discuss a custom plan
  • Some better news: we hear you loud and clear re: investing in our ecosystem of Bubble developers, plugin builders, agencies, and everyone else in the community who contributes to making Bubble successful. As we discuss 2023 planning, Bubble’s ecosystem is one of the recurring themes, and we’ve been talking through what resources we’d like to put against it from a product and engineering standpoint. We’re also actively hiring two roles that will be full-time working with and advocating for the needs of developers and our community.
  • Re: downtime and breaking user apps, we definitely acknowledge we have room to up our game here. I’ve shared more in-depth thoughts on it here, but the short version is that we have a lot of room to improve but that improvement takes work and isn’t an overnight fix. Re: the specific issue with Operation timed out, this is on our radar, and something we expect to become less common once we release capacity auto-scaling. We also strongly encourage design patterns such as recursive custom workflows that keep each individual segment of data processing short so that there’s much less risk of approaching the five minute workflow limit. The suggestion in the thread about retrying on unexpected errors is an interesting one, but our take is this would likely just lead to repeated failures and consume a lot of app capacity: breaking work down into smaller chunks we think is a better workaround, and our long-term plans here involve automating the process of breaking things into chunks so that we can do it seamlessly behind the scenes without the app builder having to be aware of it.
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