Use Bubble to develop Apps without lines of code
Translated by 半月
On May 26th, Bubble held a workshop at AppWorks. The co-founder of Bubble, Emmanuel Straschnov lead participants through the process of building app “visually.” At the very beginning, Emmanuel Straschnov said “I will use English mostly today, is that okay?” in fluent Chinese.
Straschnov is no stranger in Asia. His father came to study in Taiwan in the 70’s and later met his mother in Beijing. Straschnov himself has been a consultant for several years in China. Since he has been around for some time, Mandarin Chinese gradually becomes his strength in career. “This is my first time here in Taiwan. We have only about 30 Bubble users here. The aim of this workshop is of course, to promote our product.”
Bubble aims at freeing users from lines of codes when developing customized Apps visually. The Internet has been around for about 20 years, Emmanuel Straschnov and co-founder Josh Haas still consider it difficult for many people. Therefore, they decided to build Bubble, a visual tool for App development that literally everybody can use. Their goal is to fill the gap of technical incompetence when people are trying to make use of this technology.
When talking about visualizing coding experience, people often think of PHP or Python. However, Bubble wants more than that. They aim to abandon traditional ways of coding and make the process completely visual. From interface design to data input can be done without lines of code.
What is the difference with Xcode in Mac system then? In Xcode, we can make use of drag / pull system and built-in modules. “When actually designing your interface, it is difficult to really produce the outcome you want.” Emmanuel Straschnov didn’t explain much but started to take the audience directly on the journey with Bubble. He told us that the goal of this Workshop is to build a platform for apartment transaction.
If you go to Bubble’s website, you can see a video teaching you how to use their product. They claim that you can “Copy Twitter within Four Days!”, “Create your Own App with Click and Select.” However, what really appeals to me is the fact that everything can be done on the website. After registration and a few other steps, you can use Bubble without downloading any software.
To build an apartment transaction platform, Straschnov first created 2 web pages, the Sell page and Buy page. The 2 pages require different functions and interface design. For example, in Sell page, we need the price, address and pictures of the building. As for Buy page, we can add a Map or Contact Seller feature. In Straschnov’s presentation, we saw click, drag and many other visual ways to design the interface. The only thing that lacked was lines of code.
Community ＝ Learning
In less than 20 minutes, Emmanuel Straschnov put Taipei 101, AppWorks and Taipei train station on the trading platform.
Of course, the interface done in 20 minutes is relatively simple. One needs to spend more time with Bubble to use it smoothly. However, according to Straschnov, Bubble can certainly satisfy 95 % software and users, including map, links to external mailbox and other plug-ins. And there’s no way that they will give up the last 5%.
Straschnov wants Bubble users to find the joy of teaching and learning on the Internet. He encourages people to go on Bubble’s official website, read the documentation and discuss with peers on the forum. Finally, he said that they were willing to take any suggestion or comment regarding Bubble’s product design.。
What not open source and let users with advanced application to modify the software itself? Straschnov considered this against Bubble’s philosophy. “We want to enable people to develop Apps without coding. Thus, please let Bubble take care of technical details!”
“The earlier we let potential users use the product, the better feedback we get. This informs our team where we should go. We tried to think in users’ shoes and imagine what habits they would have. Every single click and drag are out into the workflow.” Explained Emmanuel Straschnov.
Bubble charges users according to the amount the users make use of the server. The average is 19 US dollars per month. They use Amazon’s server and set the virtual servers in Asia. When asked about whether they have plans to develop markets in China. Straschnov said that details were to be discussed. However, they plan to do that next year. “ To be honest, we are not worried about technical problems. What’s really worth pondering over is how to meet people’s need here in Asia.”
Do you have plans to release the Chinese version of Bubble? “Not in the near future.” replied Straschnov. But right after that, he tried to type in Chinese and he used plug-ins to change the font successfully!
Enhancing coding Power in E-generation
At the end of the lecture, Straschnov emphasized the fact that nobody can predict the development of computer and the Internet. They are not trying to eliminate lines of code. Rather, they would like to open a new path for non-coders to develop Apps efficiently in a visual environment. Bubble aims to provide this support.
“Bubble is here to make the Internet more creative and open to the mass. We want to empower people to develop their own software without technical background. Certainly, users still need some understanding of logic. But that’s all you need to use Bubble. Everything else can be done intuitively in a visual interface.”
中文版連結Cover photo via romana klee@flickr, CC License