Hi Bubble people
I’m a newcomer here, but as I’m starting a business based on the Bubble platform, and I’ve studied, tested, took courses, and I’m already setting up the business here, I decided to give suggestions to Bubble’s leadership. Maybe it will strategically inspire someone.
You must have an excellent reason to have the interface design ingenuity the way it is, because the difficulty we have in having responsive interfaces is enormous. The way Bubble works is very menu-driven, with a very big loss when you want or need to use blocks, especially flex-box (CSS). Elementary things in any simple Wordpress interface editor, such as vertically aligning an element inside the box it is in, is either too difficult with Bubble (maybe just using code) or it just can’t.
I’m hoping Bubble has in its short term plans to change this interface design paradigm as if it were Photoshop design. At least… at the very least… there should be two types of design approach: the current one, for extreme newbies (I’m just a newbie); and another with a minimum of compatibility with what any web development beginner does nowadays: flexbox, containers, etc.
There are already competitors in the market who have recently started the path long trodden by Bubble. I won’t trade Bubble for any of them, just for one reason: Bubble’s path is much longer. This implies a lot more ready-made plugins, a lot more services (trainers, agencies, ready-made code…). Even working in Brazil, Bubble already has plugins specifically aimed at our reality (Brazil is Bubble’s second market after the USA). However, these competitors will quickly reach the degree of maturity of Bubble, in an arc of time much smaller than the 13 years totaled by this platform. And if she stays in her comfort zone, of not offering what others offer, others will offer what Bubble does best. Yesterday I read an article on a competitor’s blog (released in 2020) that makes this intention clear.
Here are some suggestions from someone who is starting now, so there is no pro or con bias (in order of urgency/importance from my perspective):
Provide a frontend builder compatible with what the rest of the world works with, ie CSS (with flexbox please). Just take a look at what plugins like Themeco, PageBuilder, Elementor or similar do. This current builder is an impediment to doing very simple and very necessary things in terms of building web interfaces. If for some reason you can’t get rid of this current constructor, at least make available something more compatible with what is done on the current web as an alternative to the current editor. This will lead to a big improvement in terms of interface responsiveness and even more in productivity in your construction.
Provide more transparency about how far we can expand for a reasonable amount. A Bubble competitor claims that as it passes 1000 concurrent users, the price to maintain an app on this platform starts to get too expensive, being prohibitive for 5000 concurrent users. For those starting a business, like me, this concern already existed before reading this blog. Now the worry has increased. “Give transparency” is basically giving values for X number of concurrent users.
Native support for PWA, as it was clear in another post on this forum that developing native apps is a wish, but not yet a goal (wish + deadline) of Bubble. I understand this position because of the cost and complexity of getting Bubble to get there. However, an excellent way to get around this limitation, at least for those who do not require such deep access to the mobile device’s hardware, is to offer a native resource to generate an app that is at least partially stocked on the user’s cell phone (as I imagine that a PWA is fully would imply breaking the vendor’s lock in).
Native app development. I will not develop this item because I have this topic clarified in another topic on this forum, where you make it clear that it is a wish, but without a date to be fulfilled. Anyway, here is the record.
Allow Bubble to have an adaptive interface for newbies and not-so-newbies (like me). This implies having an interface builder with CSS logic as an alternative, keeping the current logic (if you can see any advantage in it). It also implies having a backend present itself with something more like a database. I fully understand that the idea of having the terminology dataType, columns and things (instead of tables, fields and records) is aimed at simplifying the understanding of users without any knowledge of database. However, the difficulty in understanding how relationships are made between tables (in a relational database) by those who have a minimum of knowledge, ends up making it difficult for users who are not so ignorant of the basics of databases to enter. Just see the gymnastics done by those who train in the use of Bubble to explain how to relate two database tables, or how to show relationship table concepts from other tables (avoiding many-to-many relationships), or even showing primary and secondary keys of A table. Note that I’m not an IT expert, I just studied and watched YouTube videos to learn. It’s important for you to realize that doing things aimed at a totally lay audience wins users, but it also limits those same users as their business grows, which will lead to other solutions. In the long run, what you have is the conquest of a niche made up of temporary customers. If they want to increase the LTV (longtime value) of such customers, they will have to consider using Bubble by more technologically mature users, including IT professionals.
Possibility of breaking the vendor’s lock in, allowing the application code to be fully downloadable by the developer. This doesn’t have to be included in the monthly fee, it doesn’t have to be free. A fee may be charged for doing so, but allowing the developer to get their solution out of Bubble. This value doesn’t have to be prohibitive, as one of the main motivators for a user to prepare to (or at least worry about) taking their business off the Bubble platform is the fact that it doesn’t offer a way for them to do so. Please understand that arguing that data can be exported is not the answer to this problem, as the business is not just in the data, but in the logic that makes such data of value to the business owner. In order of importance, this item could be second on the list (since nothing beats the terrible way to build responsive frontends in Bubble). However, I left it last to make it clear that, since Bubble offers the other 5 items, without pricing meaningless marketing, there is no reason for anyone to withdraw their business from the platform. Therefore, offering a way for this to happen, little would be used (basically to test that it works).
Forgive me for the first, long menu, and I hope it’s not the last contribution in this forum.