Okay, so I was stumbling through the internet in a blind rage, trying to get a simple little application that handles a small amount of data up and running. I’m sure anybody with some but not a lot of experience programming has done: When you recognize something that should be easy for someone with experience but isn’t yet easy for you. About to give up and settle into gathering data manually, I found it, the one the only, the bubble.
Claiming to be web apps with a visual programming language, you say Hell Yeah and start digging in. You may have disliked scratch when you were being forced to do it in school, but now that you’re only concerned with getting something working, an app builder sounds like a dream come true.
So you start digging in, and sadly you start to find the problems.
- So I was trying to get a new web app going in under a day; it was for an exercise that has to be moved online due to COVID. It only needs to run for a day, and It’ll never have to host more than ten people using it simultaneously. Jesus $29/month if I want all the advanced features… like having a custom favicon. It’s a little thing, but it lends an air of quality, and honestly, with the user interface and features available, no default stock media library to create beautiful backgrounds. It can’t afford to lose that one extra squirt of modern beautiful web design.
- I can’t have multiple revisions live. Seriously you’re going to charge me another $29/month for every app I want to have live full-featured online simultaneously—no ability to create a beautifully polished piece of work and then refine it repeatedly. Honestly, No Biggie, I can take down the other sites, and you can allow me to have one live with all the features at a time. NO seriously, you aren’t allowed to do that. They don’t let you swap which app is full-featured around; you pay for one app to have the full feature set, not your account. Honestly, I could get this if you were running large sites that take lots of server power, but most people will be running low volume apps like me.
- Why are you getting Regex in my simplicity? This one might be a personal taste of how I like things, but the moment something is going to toss Regex or something that an average individual doesn’t understand how to describe, you are no longer a tool for those people. To split an input string by commas, one has to use Regex expressions. Now having this doesn’t preclude someone like me, with a background in Electrical Engineering, who can code in C, C++, VHDL, Verilog, and several others over the years. But you’re no longer a quick, easy little app builder, you’re a tool for people who know what they’re doing, and the hassles that come from being visual, outweigh the benefits brought by a simple getting started. You are the Visual Basic of web programming, but worse because you’ve gone way too far with the visual programming at this point, without keeping it accessible to everyday individuals.
So what is the conclusion of half a day of fiddling around with Bubble trying to get stuff to work nicely? It’s a neat toy, but if you want to do something simple quickly, you’re better to invest the time, learn a traditional programming language, and not run up against a random weird limitation of the platform. That being said, the bubble does have it’s place. The no coding statement is an out and out lie, but I will use it again. Why you may ask, would you use it again if you’ve had such a bad experience working with it, well I’ll tell you why?
When I realized it’s problems and tried to get a refund for it. They gave me account credit. And I accidentally purchased it twice, so that’s two months of the bubble for me to percolate on. I was never suckered into thinking it was great, but I only really wanted to support it for a month in return for letting me run a quick exercise online, and now that my simple task has proved too hard for it, I’m frankly annoyed I have to support it at all.
Written April 30th 2020