Should I build a complete marketplace in Bubble or use the API connector?

Hi,

I’m new to Bubble and just spent a couple of days learning about it and testing things out. I’d love to hear any thoughts or advice for a decision I need to make.

I’m trying to decide whether to build our app completely in Bubble or to use an API connector to our existing code base. Here’s our situation:

  • We’re building a marketplace web app that has three clients (one for Users, one for Service Providers, one for us Admins, the marketplace owners)
  • We’ve built a lot of the code with Typescript and Angular, but the problem is that our front-end is in bad shape and we don’t have a full-time developer anymore
  • We want to launch a marketable product within weeks, not months
  • All the designs and layouts are pretty much ready in Figma

I still can’t decide whether to do everything from scratch in Bubble or to work with the API connector. I’m thinking:

  • How should I structure the web app in Bubble? Should I build three separate Bubble apps and connect them? There should be one user account that you sign up to, and Users can apply to become Service Providers and get their own portal to manage their offerings. The Admin client has a separate login.

  • How quickly have people built something similar? I’ve seen some Airbnb clones which are not quite what we’re looking for, but pretty close.

  • If I decide to use the API connector to get the data, is it easy and what are potential downsides? Can the app be slower?

If you read so far, congrats :smiley: Based on this information, which option would you go with?

Thanks for sharing any advice or similar experiences. Happy to provide more details if needed.

Cheers!

Hey codeles,

I’m currently using bubble as frond and back-end for my marketplace applications. I’ve managed to build 2 platforms within a couple weeks, not months.

Currently I’ve got 3 user types, Freelancer, business & admin.

Fun fact is that I didn’t had any clue about softwares or coding itself, I bought 2 times a template and worked with a freelancer and within a couple months I knew bubble good enough to see and change structures of workflows as they are.

I can recommend Bubble for it.

www.Jumpdesk.nl
www.Centraalklus.nl

Thanks Jumpdesk, good work on those sites! I like the design.

Did you build just one Bubble app or separate ones for each user type?

I’m hesitating about templates but perhaps that could speed things up. Any good ones you would recommend?

All done within one application,

I’ve used the template from Zerqode, just scroll thrue bubble template area and you’ll find one that’ll fit your needs.

If you’re looking for a more unique version for your app you could publish a request for freelancers, for that I’d recommend @help

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Thanks!

@codeless I think the decision about one app or separate apps for your users would be based on your desire to have separate domains for them…you can have one subdomain on a bubble app…so www.myapp.com and www.admin.myapp.com could be possible.

I am currently building a B2B and B2C marketplace app, all in one. The consumer facing app will use the same database as the B2B side of things, so I have retail_products and wholesale_products as data types and even established a one to many relationship by having each retail_product have a data field of “wholesale_product”…

I believe the benefit of that is to provide the type of analytics I want to, plus allow the product information from the wholesale product be used for the retail products ( ie: producer uploads a photo of product and all retailers can use that photo )

There should be other forum posts on this subject as well if you go through enough key words and read through the threads you may find other conversations surrounding the topic.

I’m not an expert on this at all, just my opinion and personal choice to build it all in one app…bubble provides a lot of powerful tools to help with this such as permissions and such…plus think about reusable elements to create different headers depending on the user.

Your “users” ( which I believe are consumers ) and the “service providers” ( other users of the app ) can all access the portion of the app they need to through login navigation workflows, links on pages etc.

Look at some big players in the industry you are entering ( or if creating an industry look to other industry big players ) and see how they set things up. I own a hostel and use a lot of OTAs and they all seem to have utilized subdomains. For example booking dot com has their consumer facing www but for service providers they have admin.booking.com

They also try to sell you your “own” website but you can’t get it to use a unique domain, it must be www.your_property_name/booking.com

Bubble if on a dedicated plan allows you to create unlimited number of apps ( up to your storage capacity limits on the plan ), so you could do the same type of thing, but provide each provider their own unique domain name and app basically…so if you want to go down the route of creating three apps, I’d suggest ( if budgets allow ) to inquire about the dedicated server plan and consider giving each service provider their own admin app.

In terms of what you should do though ultimately I can not advise on it as I think it is more or less an economic argument only you’d have the answers to.

How much is you time worth per hour? How much would a freelancer charge per hour? How long would it take you to learn bubble? ( that is also a personal issue as everybody is different – took me about 6 months to feel I could build whatever I want ) How long does a freelancer say it will take them?

Should you even use bubble? What’s the cost of a programmer finishing your project that seems to be nearly complete? Who will be maintaining the app when all is said and done?

My final thought is bubble is a very powerful tool that lets you use it as you see fit…everything you asked about is possible, but again it comes down to an economic argument.

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Thanks so much for a thoughtful answer. Great questions and things to think about!

One thing that is drawing me towards Bubble is being able to iterate probably a lot of faster than in the case of our own code base. At this stage, it might very well be that we launch and have to iterate multiple times. If I hire someone to “finish” our existing code base to get the product out, I might have to re-hire someone to do tweaks.

Also, I guess there’s no need to worry about maintenance and fixing bugs with Bubble. So far it’s been an uphill battle with all the bugs in our own code base, certificates expiring, etc.

I like the idea of autonomy and not having to rely on a programmer at this stage. I guess I’ll keep on learning Bubble and try to build something as fast as I can.

Thanks for the recommendation!

Yes, the idea of being able to iterate quickly is a great selling point for bubble. Take full advantage of the resources online to learn as quickly as possible, and if not familiar with coding and all the other aspects of it, don’t forget to learn about other things and not just bubble. Learn a bit about database design, user experience and basic design components.

Search the thread about importing your front end design, or consider having an experienced designer who uses bubble and then go in yourself and connect it all. For me personally, design is the hardest thing for me to do.

Totally agree. For me, it’s the opposite. I’m a designer guy learning about database structuring and workflows etc :grin:

I’ve been reading and learning for about a week now, and one additional thing I have to say is that the community and support team here is just pure gold. Going down the rabbit hole with the manual and all the posts here on the Forum… Good stuff but also easy to get lost into haha.

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what helped me were “courses”…I forget (2 years ago now) but there was a site with about 8 courses on how to create a clone of various popular apps…I watch one and built along with it…really helped speed up the learning process for me.

Also check out on the forum for threads on courses, I remember seeing another site that I will be searching for again in some time as they had $3-$10 courses on some difficult topics. Also, the youtube channel “coaching bubble” is a good free resource and Gaby who created it also has a paid subscription site with tutorials.

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@codeless

I just came across the forumapp…seems like has a lot of great stuff on there as long as other people didn’t mess up the settings

different pages with different components.

Also @NigelG created a set of “blocks”

It is really helpful and you learn a lot from getting to see the editor and how everything was done.

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Thanks for these @boston85719

I think the first site you mention was Codefree. They’re under Zeroqode now. And the cheap courses Copilot.

yes those are the ones