Bubble.io is a powerful web application building tool that allows you to create apps without prior coding knowledge. It covers everything from development and interface design to publishing and makes the entire process easy with its intuitive interface.
If you aren’t sure whether Bubble.io is the right tool for your app development, you are in the right place. In this review, we’ll take a closer look at the platform’s offerings and features. Plus, we’ll help you learn more about using it for your business.
Bubble.io Review – UPDATED 2020
Bubble.io allows customers to create interactive apps for web and mobile browsers without having to write any code. It offers an intuitive, customizable platform that integrates all the tools you need to build a website like Airbnb or Facebook.
Bubble.io is a visual programming platform that allows using drag and drop functionality to build an app. It gives you great control over customizing what these elements can do.
This platform has been revolutionizing the no-code world by giving endless opportunities to create what you want. It can help you build any system from Marketplace apps and Job board apps to Inventory for businesses, Analytics software, and much more. You can create almost any type of app on Bubble.io because if you don’t find a specific feature, you can easily integrate with a third-party service to achieve what you want.
Bubble.io uses APIs to send data back and forth, allowing your apps to communicate with other external services. Moreover, Bubble gives you a blank canvas when it comes to databases. You can create your customized database the way you want. Just build it using the visual programming system and store, send and process a lot of information as you like.
Some templates and plugins can help you make the most out of Bubble functionality. The library of plugins is growing, and you can always create your own from scratch and use the API to connect to the third party service.
- Perfect for quick web deployment
- Extensive library of plugins
- Ideal for beginners
- Allows using data outside the platform
- Number of templates available
- The free version does not provide data import/export
- No custom animation scripts
- No special game-creation tools
- Slow performance
Bubble.io Tutorial – Getting Started
Bubble.io provide a wide variety of learning resources right on their website. We'll help you get started, and navigate around their Bubble academy.
1. Account Setup
First create an account by heading to bubble.io.
Click "Get started" in the top right corner.
You'll see this popup below. From there, follow the prompts to create an account.
2. Interactive Lessons
Interactive lessons are what we found to be the most helpful way to learn Bubble.io.
They take you through step by step guided instructions on how to create certain features, such as a sign in menu.
To get started, sign in, and click on the "Academy" link in the menu. Alternatively, sign in, and click on this link: https://bubble.io/academy
Simply scroll down on the "Academy" page to the "Interactive lessons" section, and click "See all". Alternatively, you can click on this link: https://bubble.io/lessons
Once you've clicked the "see all" button, you'll see a list of lessons you can try out.
When a lesson has been completed once, a "Hard mode" will be available where the arrows in the interactive lessons will not be shown.
This means you'll need to roughly remember where the objects you're looking for are located.
We recommend you complete the lesson, and then go through the same lesson again on hard mode to further familiarize yourself with the layout.
Below, the image shows what you can expect from an interactive lesson. The "Hard mode" will simply be the same thing without the arrow showing you where to click.
3. Bubble Video Courses
After you've picked up the basics from the interactive lessons, our next recommendation is to check out the Bubble.io video courses.
To start, click on the "Video courses" button on their academy page, like in the image below. Alternatively, log in and follow this link: https://bubble.io/courses
Once you're in here, we would recommend heading straight to "Bubble 103 - Build Your First App" and following along with their 20 part video on creating a recipe sharing app.
They show you step by step instructions through video, but you'll need to work it out on your own interface without arrows, making it harder than the interactive courses.
4. Bubble "How To Build" Tutorials
From here, you should be almost familiar with the placement of most of the tools in Bubble.io.
We recommend from here that you follow some of their "How To Build" tutorials.
Here, you can find instructions on how to build popular apps on Bubble.io.
They're more complicated than the video courses or the interactive lessons, which is why we recommend you complete this section last.
There are other useful resources if what you're looking for isn't in the options listed above
The Bubble.io manual is a library of articles and tutorials in text/image format.
They're harder to follow than the options listed above, but provide in-depth information.
To find the manual, head to the "Academy" page, and click on the "Manual" button up the top. Alternatively, follow this link after you're signed in: https://manual.bubble.io/
One of the most helpful parts of Bubble we found was the forum.
If there's something you're confused about, chances are someone has already asked.
With just a simple search, you can usually find answers to most of your questions. https://forum.bubble.io/
Bubble.io Full Reference
The Bubble.io full reference section allows you to look for every specific feature defined in detail.
To get there, head to the "Academy" page, and click on the "Bubble.io Full Reference" button up the top. Alternatively, follow this link after you're signed in: https://bubble.io/reference
Steps to create your own Bubble web application
Once you have identified the categories and subcategories for your database, you can add the information using the ‘Data’ tab of the platform.
Your categories are the ‘data types’, and your subcategories are the ‘fields’ within these data types. The data types that are related to each other can be added as fields in the data types.
Design the App
Next, you can start creating the pages and elements you will need in your project. Most web applications need a homepage where users land initially and other pages where different users go like profile, logins and portals. You can also have admin pages that work with special permissions and popups that allow entering information without having to go to the database.
You can design the pages separately in the platform and then connect them using the navigational workflows or links in the menu, buttons or headers and footers of your pages.
Activate the Elements
No-code app builders like Bubble do magic with workflows. You can use the Workflow tab to do everything your site needs to be a fully-functional experience. These workflows let you make logic for actions like –
- Make the buttons clickable and perform specific functions like login and logout, go to a page, register, etc.
- Change how elements appear on the page and navigate between internal pages.
- Perform actions like enter the user email, add more entries in the database, change the states, etc.
- Let the inputs on the pages add data to the database.
- Activate integrations to run particular actions.
Workflows are open-ended and allow connecting the data to the design to make the app functional, easing the most time-consuming step of coding. The Editor allows using point-and-click to build the workflow and get your app running in no time.
Web applications require custom permission settings to make sure only you control what your users see. You can go to the Privacy option under the Data tab to set the privacy of your app.
Test the App
The tool offers a test mode that lets you preview how it works before deploying it. Try it in the run mode to check that it works as you expected. In case something is wrong, you can use the debug mode and issue checker available in the Editor. You can also go to the Editor to see that your elements, workflows and privacy settings are properly functioning.
Launching the app is free with Bubble.io. You can even connect your own domain to Bubble with its subscription that gives you access to analytics and other features.
Bubble.io provides templates that can be used within the platform in just a few clicks. These templates are aimed at helping you create your no-code apps faster with the tool. Here are some of the best free templates available for Bubble.io.
It is a go-to template for any newbie interested in making a visual landing page for the app without spending much time. It lets you make a beautiful, mobile-friendly landing page with ease. It is a great landing page template for an application that requires logging in.
This is another no-code app template that makes task and project management easier. It is a simple, powerful tool that makes it simple to create and assign tasks to users.
It helps you build a management app without code using the Bubble platform to organize anything from clients and office to family and fitness.
An amazing way to design mobile apps using the Bubble platform, this template allows designing landing pages, sign in and register pages and other pages with animation. It facilitates creating a 5-page app design with a header as well as footer.
Bubble.io SEO – Does It Work?
Considering Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is crucial for web apps to grow, Bubble.io offers a lot of features to meet the requirements of search engines.
First and foremost, it's important to know that SEO is not simply a process of turning on several switches, and suddenly your site will be found. Search engines want you to answer questions that their customers are asking so that you provide a better user experience to those using their product (i.e. if someone searches for a Bubble.io review it actually comes up with an in-depth Bubble.io review). It's in the search engines' best interests to find pages that show customers what they want to see. Proper SEO involves writing great content that answers questions that your customer might have. The tools and customisations are there to help search engines by showing them that your information is compatible, but they're by no means a requirement.
Bubble.io does allow you to customise the way search engine crawlers see your website through several advanced settings. You should only modify these settings if you know what you're doing.
‘Expose the type of tags for text elements’ allows you to define the heading elements as 'h1', 'h2', 'h3', etc. These tags organise the page hierarchically, which is easier to define to search engines what the page is about.
Bubble.io also has support for sitemap and Robots.txt files. They provide information to the crawlers about what pages they should ignore when indexing the website. You can customize the robots.txt and overwrite its content. Sitemaps list the pages on your website and show search engines how they're organised. Generating a sitemap is a great way to help search engines with indexing, thereby improving visibility and ranking.
Bubble.io also allows you to create 301 redirects, allowing you to redirect old URLs to new ones. This helps minimise SEO damage caused by changing URLs.
The main downside of Bubble in regards to SEO is the speed of the web application. Bubble products tend to be slower than their custom developed counterparts, therefore creating a worse user experience which leads to a lower ranking. A way to counteract this is by using Bubble.io as the web application only, and hosting this web application on a subdomain to your main website (i.e main website on quko.com.au, while the web app is hosted on app.quko.com.au). This way, you can use your main website to create content to grow. If you're serious about SEO, this is the preferred Bubble.io application. We would not recommend Bubble.io for a non-web application website at this stage, as there are easier options without the drawbacks of Bubble.io, such as Webflow.
Bubble.io Vs Webflow – How They Compare?
Both Bubble.io and Webflow are visual programming web development platforms that need no coding. They offer a hosting program on a monthly subscription basis and have an option for free use as well.
Comparing Bubble.io to webflow is like comparing apples and oranges. They’re both great platforms, but choosing which one should depend on your personal requirements.
- Bubble = great for complex web applications outside of costly custom development.
- Webflow = great for general website design, but lacking in complex web app structures. If you’re after a website with general features such as a landing page, a blog, a CMS, etc, go with Webflow.
Webflow designs snap to a grid, slightly limiting element placement options. However, they provide automatic consistency and uniformity. In 90% of use cases this is enough, and allows for faster development. On the other hand, Bubble.io allows complete freedom with pixel-perfect positioning of elements. You enforcing the styles, giving you more freedom in terms of design but more responsibility to maintain a cohesive layout.
Webflow is aimed at front-end event triggers and offers a CMS-based database whereas Bubble.io supports front as well as back end event triggers and a database functionality that extends beyond CMS. It is easier to build things like conditional situations, comments system or connection of backend on Bubble.io as compared to Webflow. Moreover, Bubble.io comes with a pre-designed sign up/login workflow, which also supports connecting to external platforms. Webflow, on the other hand, requires building a custom user management system.
Bubble.io - Final Thoughts And Use Cases
Bubble.io is amazing. It gives us a glimpse of what we might expect to become the standard of visual application development in the future. It allows you to quickly prototype complex web applications without having prior coding experience. Plus, the onboarding tutorials on the Bubble application get you up to speed relatively quickly.
We would use Bubble to develop complicated web applications that don’t require all the benefits of development from scratch. In fact, users online have recreated web apps in Bubble like Twitter, Dribble, and even Reddit. However, there are drawbacks.
The limitations of Bubble.io:
- Speed & Performance.
- You’re locked into the vendor and don’t get your source code.
- No native mobile application support.
- You can’t self-host.
- You can bump into design limitations.
Keeping these downsides in mind, we’d use Bubble.io to test and prototype web apps before investing money into development. We can see Bubble.io being useful as a middle ground between not having the app, and having to hire a team to develop an expensive application. If you are a start-up looking to test your web application, Bubble.io is a perfect candidate. If your idea is already tested, you’re already established and you’re ready to take the next step, hire a team of developers to create your app.
If you are after just a general website, then hire a great web design agency, or look into alternative no-code solutions such as Webflow, Wordpress, Wix, or Squarespace.