We asked theCommons founder Jay Cephas about building a searchable index on new books and articles in architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning. Jay is the founding director of Studio Plat, a geospatial research and development firm. He chose Bubble because the no-code platform enabled him to develop his idea quickly.

Tell us about your app and what it does.

theCommons is a searchable index of the new books and articles in architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning. The app helps researchers, journalists, and design professionals stay current with the latest research in the field. Currently, the index lists over 2,600 publications from over 100 publishers, and new titles are added every day.

How does your app work?

Users can choose to view either new books or new articles when they first encounter the app and can filter those titles by the field of study, the geographical region of study, the method of research, the time period under study, and the topic of the research. Users can also search the index by keyword and the app suggests similar publications. Once a title is found, the user can read an abstract, add the publication to their reading list, email a link to the publication, or go directly to the publication website to read the full text (if available).

Tell us a little about your background and how you discovered no-code tools like Bubble.

I am the founding director of Studio Plat, a geospatial research, and development firm. Most of our work consists of supporting small businesses with web applications though we also build our own apps, like theCommons. We discovered Bubble when we were seeking ways to quickly build out a client portal for our business. Once we realized how much we could do with Bubble, we started experimenting with building out entire apps with it.

Why did you build your app on Bubble?

I created theCommons originally to solve our own problem—keeping up with new research that impacted the work we do with our clients. After sharing theCommons with a few clients for whom I thought it might be helpful, I decided to make it public. Building on Bubble was chosen originally to develop the idea quickly though the platform worked so well for what we were trying to do with theCommons that it made sense to keep building in Bubble.

What have been your milestones or successes so far?

The growth of theCommons has been 100 percent by word-of-mouth so far. Our greatest success has been the interest shown by libraries and other research institutions in using theCommons to streamline their acquisitions process.

What are your next steps or future plans for your app?

I am primarily focused on continuing to grow the index. In the near future, users will be able to get direct notifications when new publications are added to the database.

theCommons logo
theCommons logo

Learn more about theCommons

About Bubble

Bubble is a leader in the no-code movement. Bubble offers a powerful point-and-click web editor and cloud hosting platform that allows users to build fully customizable web applications and workflows, ranging from simple prototypes to complex marketplaces, SaaS products, and more. Over 500,000 users are currently building and launching businesses on Bubble - many have gone on to participate in top accelerator programs, such as Y Combinator, and even raise $365M in venture funding. Bubble is more than just a product. We are a strong community of builders and entrepreneurs that are united by the belief that everyone should be able to create technology.

Do you want your app featured by Bubble? Reach out to us and tell us about your app. In addition to this series, we sometimes select our best apps to showcase on our website.