What is Bubble?

Bubble is at the same time a visual programming tool and a cloud platform. You use the programming tool to build your applications, while the cloud platform hosts and runs them. The application editor is accessed in the browser. There is nothing to download, and you can access your app from any device. Once an application is built on Bubble, there is no need to deploy the application to a cloud solution. As soon as an app is built on Bubble, it is hosted on Bubble's cloud infrastructure.

What Bubble can and cannot do

Bubble lets you build web applications. The applications can be accessed in a browser on a computer, tablet or phone. Applications have a database and users can create an account, save data, retrieve data, etc. Bubble's powerful editor is open-ended, and like a traditional programming language, there's no fixed set of possibilities. By combining different data and logic operations, you can create very simple to extremely complicated applications. Without getting into a detailed list of features, Bubble supports:

  • creating user accounts;
  • saving, modifying, deleting and retrieving data;
  • real-time updates;
  • connecting to any kind of external services that expose an API (including payments, sources of data, authentication providers, etc.);
  • building responsive applications, which adjust to the width of the screen.

Bubble is very open-ended. That said, there are some limits to what the core language can do. Bubble’s language is comparable in power to spreadsheet formulas: you can do a lot, but anything requiring recursive or looping operations on data (such as, for instance, writing a custom machine-learning algorithm) would be difficult. The good news is that Bubble is fully extensible via Javascript plugins. You can create your own plugins to add connections to non-supported services, add elements written in Javascript or write server code (see Building Bubble Plugins. The Bubble model is to write the core website functionality using our visual language, and plug in Javascript to handle algorithms that are harder to build in Bubble.

Bubble's visual approach to building user interfaces can also limit what you can do. For instance, Bubble is probably not the best choice to build a platform game. Bubble apps support animating elements on the page, but you may hit some limits if you try to design new user experiences.

For a more detailed list of limits, please refer to Bubble Limitations.

Native apps

Bubble does not generate native apps for iOS and Android out of the box yet, but this is in beta. Some users have managed to successfully deploy apps to both stores. If you are building native first software and want to use Bubble, we recommend you build a web version first as a one-page application, and then convert it into a native app. The Forum is best for this process, since other users have gone through it.

We plan to add this to our core functionality in the future, but cannot commit on a timeline for this yet.

Who can use Bubble

Anyone that is comfortable using Microsoft Excel should have a relatively easy time learning Bubble. There is a learning curve, and we strongly recommend doing the lessons, watching the videos and reading this manual before trying to build a complete app. The Community is extremely helpful, both for beginner and advanced questions, so you should make extensive use of it.

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