At BubbleCon, co-founders Josh Haas and Emmanuel Straschnov hosted a candid AMA on all things Bubble. They covered everything from the future of no-code development to nitty-gritty feature updates. Catch the replay below, and read answers to more popular questions they didn’t have time for live — with a couple of bonus insights from VP of Product Allen Yang and Director of Community Jayvee Nava.
- Emmanuel Straschnov, co-founder and co-CEO
- Josh Haas, co-founder and co-CEO
- Jayvee Nava, Director of Community (moderator)
Questions Josh and Emmanuel answered live
- There’s a perception among some people that no-code is lesser than native code. How do you respond to that? (03:23)
- Do you want Bubble to be a tool that works for large web apps, and have you been talking to people who have enterprise code experience at big companies to better understand where Bubble’s gaps are? (05:26)
- What are Bubble’s plans to continue growing this community of users? (08:11)
- Are there any thoughts on adding HIPAA compliance within Bubble? (10:49)
- What are the biggest challenges to letting users select a hosting region on a self-serve plan — is it technical or UX/UI? (11:54)
- No-code platforms range on a scale from easy-to-use but less powerful features, to harder-to-use but more powerful and flexible features. Is Bubble happy with its current position on the scale?(13:18)
- When new, native mobile app–building features are rolled out, how backward-compatible will they be with pre-existing Bubble apps? Will users need to rebuild a lot of pages or logic, similar to the responsive roll-out? (15:55)
- Who is the customer you’re building Bubble for? Is it founders, early-stage startups building MVPs, or is it enterprise? (17:34)
- Do you plan on raising more venture capital within the next 12 months? (19:13)
- Will Bubble ever support an offline experience? (20:10)
- How have your roles as co-CEOs changed since starting Bubble, and how do you think they’ll change over the next five years? (21:34)
- Regarding the terms no-code and low-code, do you believe either has a more bloated stigma, and do you encourage people to embody one or the other? (24:30)
- How is the training of Bubble’s AI going to be done? Will it be trained on all users’ apps? Can users opt in or opt out of specific apps? (26:00)
- Are there plans to let users self-host their Bubble apps? (27:30)
- Are you looking for ways for college campuses to start teaching Bubble? (29:04)
- Do you plan on releasing some sort of load testing feature? (31:28)
- For the Bubble Developer Certification, is there a plan to offer regional pricing for Bubblers from developing regions like the continent of Africa? (32:33)
- When will Bubble reach a QA and testing tipping point that ensures there aren’t monthly shipments that break things in users’ apps? (34:08)
- Have you considered a program that would allow Bubble Developers to invest in Bubble? (38:10)
- Will you release a database update soon that makes the need for third-party database and backend integrations obsolete? What does that roadmap and timeline look like? (39:05)
- Do you think that Amazon Web Services will acquire Bubble sometime in the future? (40:59)
- As the market has grown with a lot of competitors, some other tools have cool solutions that Bubble could learn from or copy. Have you seen any examples of this that you want to act on? (43:05)
- How do you weigh the tiny UX papercuts we all grumble about as developers (and which feel like low-hanging fruit) versus large upgrades? Do you have plans to prioritize the former? (46:10)
- Which companies or products does Bubble see as its biggest competitors? What business and growth goals does Bubble have in the coming years? (48:15)
- What are Bubble’s plans to increase plugin development support? (50:12)
- Are their plans to expand Bubble’s Developer Certification to introduce specialized certifications like security or data architecture? (52:55)
- Are there any plans to eliminate the “refresh page to continue” banner that appears to end-users when Bubble updates are made, especially for more basic updates? (52:55)
- How do you define scale? Is it revenue, number of users, workload, or something else? What magnitudes do you have in mind when you say “a scaled app”? (54:10)
- Regarding the training of AI, what if I don’t want some of my apps to be used for training? Is there an opt-in or opt-out option? (55:26)
- How did Josh and Emmanuel get so ridiculously good-looking? (56:30)
- Will there be a BubbleCon next year? (57:05)
Following up on some of our most-asked questions
What determines the editor's speed? Are there any recommendations you could provide to make the editor faster?
Josh: The slowest thing in the editor right now is the issue checker. We always recommend temporarily disabling it to see if that speeds up performance, and we’re looking into overhauling it to make it blazing fast in 2024! Beyond that, editor performance varies based on how big your app is and how many elements and actions are on each page: the bigger, the slower. We’re constantly making improvements (and recently just sped up switching between tabs dramatically), and we plan to invest a lot in this over the next few months.
Are you planning on improving the group focus element anytime soon?
Allen: This isn’t a priority at this time. But please share your specific feedback with us — we do read the feedback coming from all our channels, like the forum and the Ideaboard. We can’t respond to every single piece of feedback, but our Product team incorporates them into their overall thinking. Plus, even if we aren’t able to prioritize a large project on the group focus element, we do try to keep an eye out for low-hanging fruit.
Can you give us some details on "editor improvements"? What’s on the list you’re planning?
Allen: We’re in the midst of a look-and-feel refresh of the editor. The first major step is implementing a design system behind the scenes with the code powering the editor. This helps standardize the UI and UX across the editor and also makes it much easier and faster for our team to work on the editor in the future.
We’re moving the editor over to the design system in chunks — you may have already seen a slight visual update to the left navigation of the tabs and to the element picker in the Design tab. We’re moving it chunk by chunk and releasing it incrementally.
While we tackle a given chunk, we’re also looking for opportunities to incorporate UX improvements to that chunk. Some of these UX improvements will be small; some will be large. For example, we’re planning to really give the Workflows tab some love to make it easier to manage a page with a lot of workflows (or your backend workflows).
The expression composer and table elements have been a little disappointing, as discussed a lot on the forum. It seems like these were released way earlier than they should have been. What are your comments?
Josh: We’ve also seen some users disappointed with the expression composer, but other users say it’s totally game-changing. Same with table element: Some users are saying it is missing key features, others say that it’s perfect for their needs. Both are beta releases — which means we don’t expect them to be perfect out of the gate — and we don’t plan to release the expression composer to everyone until we make it super-stable and address the most urgent feedback.
Are there plans related to having some sort of report writer to be able to produce powerful reporting in the business world?
Josh: No short-term plans, but we’d love to make it easier to connect third-party reporting tools to Bubble! We probably won’t seek to duplicate their functionality on Bubble, although some users have made very nice dashboards using native Bubble features like our charting and aggregation tools.
When are we getting official Bubble merch?
Emmanuel: We actually used to have a store to buy some t-shirts and some mugs a long time ago (2016, I think), but we weren't able to maintain it well back then. I would love to bring this back, but this hasn’t been something ranking very high on our priority list versus other things. That said, now that we’re starting to be more thoughtful about our community strategy and how to empower local people to do this, maybe it makes sense to do this next year. No promises, but we’ll think about it.
Do you plan to include data visualization tools to give us the ability to visualize data tables, fields, and links between tables?
Josh: Yeah, we have a lot of ideas around this! No ETA, but we’re thinking about this as we do an overhaul of the editor.
Can you talk more about the mobile app builder? Will it be based on Flutter? Will we be able to add our own code to it?
Josh: It’s going to be based on React Native! And yes, we’re going to build a plugin system so you can extend it with custom code, similar to element plugins today. (The plugin system may not be part of our v1 release that we’re targeting mid-2024, but will hopefully be done by end of 2024.)
Are there any plans to have a desktop application of the editor?
Josh: See the question I answered live about offline access. It’s just not a priority for the editor, and that would be the main reason to build a desktop app.
What does the Bubble codebase look like?
Josh: It’s changed a lot over the last decade! Some parts we’re really proud of; some parts still need some remodeling and renovation. We’re putting a lot of effort this quarter into hardening our technical foundations to make the codebase easier and more maintainable for our team to support the exciting stuff we’re doing in 2024.
Do you think the new WU paradigm and requiring users to “calcuguess” how much their app will cost to run at scale runs counter to the mission of Bubble to make developing easier?
Josh: This is a loaded question! We know it’d be easier for our users if Bubble cost a flat fee — or was just free. But we also see it as part of our mission to make sure Bubble is here 20 or 50 years from now, which means we need to build a sustainable business. We have ideas to make it easier for users to predict workload and we plan to aggressively support agencies and developers closing deals with clients in 2024.
Do either of you build in Bubble to experience the developer UX?
Josh: Personally, I try to test each new feature we add, but I don’t have as much time to do end-to-end builds. I do spend a lot of time working with our team of in-house Bubble Developers who build Bubble (I hope you caught the session they taught during BubbleCon!). They’re in the Bubble editor working all day every day, and they keep us honest about the user experience of working in Bubble.
Emmanuel: I’m very much in the same situation. I used to maintain Bubble myself but had to stop a few years ago as our team grew. I play with new features from time to time, but haven’t been able to do full builds either. As Josh is saying, our team of Bubblers is testing new features and we’re using them more and more to test things.
Are there any resources or advice when it comes to building a local Bubble community?
Emmanuel: This is definitely something that's going to be a part of our community strategy. Empower more, in particular locally.
Jayvee: This is top of mind for us and a common feedback we heard from users who participated in BubbleCon. We're grateful to have many advocates globally so stay tuned for more info on this very soon!