When building a no-code app, there are various technology platforms that one can pick. For someone new in no-code or general app development, it’s tough to know the right tech stack and tool to use. While no-code has been around for many years, the abundance of new web app no-code platforms is growing exponentially.
Picking the right no-code platform is extremely important as you’ll spend months building your app and will dedicate your business to the platform. You’ll want to make sure the platform you select has the capabilities you need.
Our recommendation is to use Bubble. Why? Simply speaking, it’s the most advanced and complete no-code development platform in the market today. Let’s explore why.
Bubble.io Editor & Database
Bubble abstracts all the unnecessary coding layers for you. Instead, you have simple drag and drop capabilities that will allow you to build a complex web app. Within the editor, everything is laid out nicely where you can easily find visual elements (text, buttons, images, etc), as well as containers (groups, popups, data sources).
In addition, Bubble has a plugin store, where independent developers upload plugins that you can download. This exponentially increases the capabilities and offerings to you. You’ll have hundreds more visual elements and features that you can build right into your app, all with no code.
Lastly, you’ll have an in-house database right within your bubble editor. This is extremely powerful as you won’t have to integrate a third party database service. Let’s explore below.
By including an in-app database solution, you won’t have to setup, integrate, and scale a database solution. In traditional coding, you would need to sign up for a service such as MySQL or AWS to build a database. Then, you would need to connect it to your server (app) and route API calls to push/pull database entries.
Instead, Bubble built a database right in your editor. Keeping the theme of no-code, you can easily build data tables and fields with no-coding experience needed. To push/pull database entries, Bubble built an incredibly easy method of plain-english workflows and data retrieves.
Let’s say you had a data table of cars. In this table, you collect and store information of users cars. To perform a search of all cars that have two doors, your database retrieve would simply be “Do a Search for: Cars, and add a constraint where the doorsCount = 2.” Simple, right? With a third party database solution, you would need to build a MySql query instead.
Having an in-app database solution right in Bubble, coupled with the ease of use in terms of implementation, scaling, and data retrieves make Bubble a winner in the no-code landscape.
One thing to note, very few no-code platforms even offer a database solution. For a platform such as Webflow, you would need to integrate Airtable into your stack, and use another solution such as Zapier to push/pull database entries. Another reason why to use Bubble.
When you’re building a complex no-code app, you need the ability to build powerful workflows and business logic. Another winning point here for Bubble, no development platform comes close in terms of workflows.
For workflows, Bubble makes business logic extremely simple with plain “If this happens, do this” workflows. For example, if a particular button is clicked and you want to send an email, your workflow would be “When button send email is clicked, send an email to this user.”
The capabilities of Bubble.io workflows are limitless. You can build extremely complex workflows with hundreds of steps, and even call other workflows to run. On other platforms, you’re limited to using built-in workflows or using a third party solution such as Zapier. Again, you are limited in the capabilities that are built in.
With Bubble, the abilities of workflows are endless. We have not seen a business logic that couldn’t be created in a workflow out of the thousands of members at Nocodify. For an example of an easy Bubble app you can build with no-code, check out our no-code job board guide with Bubble.io.
Bubble.io Plugins and APIs
With the multitude of offerings provided off-the-shelf by Bubble, an extremely high-value bonus is the availability of plugins and APIs.
With other no-code development platforms, you may be limited by what’s provided by the platform. With Bubble, third party developers create both free and paid plugins which dramatically extend the capabilities of Bubble.
Additionally, Bubble introduced an API connector which allows you to incorporate any API into your Bubble app.
As noted, Bubble has a diverse field of developers building plugins that can easily be installed in your Bubble app, dramatically extending the capabilities and features available to you.
Let’s say you want to incorporate a third party email marketing solution into your no-code app. There are many companies that offer this solution (Mailchimp, EmailOctopus, Mailersend, etc). Without plugins, you would need to build APIs in your app. While Bubble has made APIs as simple as they can in the platform, they still require knowledge of coding.
Instead, you can open up the Bubble plugin store and search for a plugin that offers the integration you need. In the case of Mailchimp, you would simply install the plugin, and then the plain-text workflows are added for you. Now, instead of using an API, you would simply add a workflow step such as “Add this user to my Mailchimp email list.” Simple, right?
Under the hood, plugins are developed with traditional code and abstract out the need for you to code. Instead, you simply download the plugin and the plugin actions are added as workflows and data retrieves.
Imagine building payment processing in your no-code app (using a processor such as Stripe). Without plugins, you would need to implement dozens of API calls which is quite challenging for a non-technical founder. Instead, you’d simply download one of many Stripe plugins and easily build in workflows to capture payments.
Plugins are offered both for free or paid. As they are developed by third party developers, it ultimately is their decision if they want to charge for them.
Be mindful of the plugins you install on your Bubble app. By using a plugin, you are relying on the third party developer to fix any bugs and keep the plugin in good condition.
If no plugin is offered for what you are trying to incorporate, using Bubble.ios API connector is your next alternative. If you’re looking to pull or push data to/from your app to a third party service, check and see if they offer an API.
Any third party solution that offers an API can be incorporated into a Bubble app. This exponentially opens the capabilities for no-code app development in Bubble.
Imagine having the ability to pull in open data of weather across any city in the world. Or pulling in flight details from Google flights. The opportunities for no-code businesses increases by a large scale.
Understand, however, that implementing APIs in Bubble is one of the toughest challenges. This is because APIs are mostly code. There’s no way around it for now. You’ll have to spend some time understanding what APIs are and how they are used and authorized. Once you play around with them and learn the concepts, you’ll understand just how powerful they are, and how they dramatically increase the capabilities for your no-code app.
Bubble.io Learning Curve
Because the offerings open to you in Bubble are high, the learning curve naturally is, too. For many non-technical founders, this often turns them away, as learning the platform takes time.
We recommend sticking with Bubble and being open to the high learning curve. This just means that once you master the platform, you’ll be able to build high scalable and complex no-code apps.
Often times, we recommend learning Webflow development as well, so that you can benefit from the increased SEO and UI design for your landing pages while having Bubble.io as your app host. You can learn more about Bubble vs. Webflow here.
Learn Bubble.io Faster
With the learning curve of Bubble as high as it is, it takes 1-3 months to learn the ins and outs. Of course, this depends on the technical knowledge of the developer. Some people grasp the concepts fast, but some need more hand holding in the beginning.
We’ve worked with hundreds of clients one-on-one and have seen firsthand the variance in the time to grasp the concepts. If you’re new to Bubble development and are looking to build your no-code app faster, book a one-on-one session with us and let’s get you started in the right direction. You can book one or more sessions with us here. We're happy to discuss your app idea and provide our suggestions and advice.
Also, take a look at the Bubble Beginners Workshop, which is a 90 minute course on getting started with Bubble here. Additionally, you can view more of our beginner courses to help you get started.
We really hope we get to see you building with Bubble.io some day soon!