Boost MVP Development with Bubble, a No-Code and Low-Code Tool

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Krystian Bergman

Updated May 21, 2024 • 17 min read
prototyping
Bubble promises to help create functional MVPs with minimal coding. But does it deliver? We put it to the test by building a speech-to-text app in just 25 minutes and developing a marketplace.

Zero lines of code and fast product delivery—are low-code and no-code tools such as the Bubble app the key for rapid market entry?

Using simple, user-friendly tools like Bubble to quickly develop product MVPs offers a practical solution for staying adaptable and competitive. By making the development process more accessible to non-technical professionals, low-code and no-code solutions make it easier to bring products to life.

Let's look at how Bubble helps companies build functional MVPs without writing any code.

Key takeaways:

  • Developing a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) can significantly reduce business risks and prevent budget waste by offering a cost-effective way to test product ideas.
  • Bubble – is a no-code tool that allows users to create mobile and web applications with a drag-and-drop interface and minimal coding. This all makes it an interesting solution for developing MVPs.
  • In this article, we'll explore two Bubble case studies: building a speech-to-text app in 25 minutes and developing a security engineer marketplace for a Canadian IT startup, highlighting key advantages and challenges.

The importance of MVPs in business success

According to Statista, almost 1 in 10 companies will fail because of a bad user experience, and another 7% of them fall short due to a lack of demand for the product. The hard truth is that most businesses eventually fail.

Yet, in many cases, introducing MVPs, or Minimum Viable Product, can be a great way to test out ideas and get useful feedback from users. By concentrating on essential features that address key customer needs, businesses can lower the risk of launching a product that may not meet market demands.

There’s a saying: 'If you’re not embarrassed by your first version, you probably launched too late.' But with low-code platforms, you can roll out your product confidently, sidestepping those early imperfections. By starting with MVPs instead of fully developed products, companies can test the waters, refine their offerings, and iterate based on real feedback, step by step.

The power of no-code and low-code platforms

Low- and no-code in numbers

No-code and low-code apps make building web applications much easier and more accessible. These platforms allow users with little to no coding skills to quickly create viable web and mobile apps. It’s exactly what many businesses are looking for, driving widespread interest in these tools.

Here are some of the most interesting statistics when it comes to low and no-code platforms.

  • Low-code platform market is expected to reach $32 billion in revenue by the end of 2024.
Low-code development platform market revenue growth graph

Source: Statista
  • It's predicted that by 2025, 70% of apps will utilize low-code or no-code platforms, up from no more than 25% in 2020.
  • According to research, the biggest benefits of using low-code technologies include freeing developers' time, bringing additional value to employees, increasing revenue, and streamlining the app deployment process.
A graph with benefits of low-code solutions

Source: Statista

What is a Bubble?

Bubble is a visual editor that simplifies the creation of mobile and web applications by eliminating the need for coding from scratch. Its no-code tools and user-friendly interface let even novice developers arrange visual elements through drag-and-drop activities. Users can easily create simple landing pages and, in some cases, even tackle more complex web and mobile applications.

Moreover, Bubble and similar no-code tools are excellent for rapid prototyping and speeding up the app development process. They are particularly beneficial for companies aiming to quickly validate their business ideas.

An image with statistics on Bubble
Source: Bubble.io

How we built a simple speech-to-text app in 25 minutes with Bubble

Whether it's mobile apps or web applications you're looking to create, Bubble can help you prototype and develop them promptly and with no elaborate technical skills. How?
Let's take a look at the process behind the speech-to-text interface we created using Bubble.io.

Six steps to build an MVP of a text to speech web application with Bubble

Set up your project

Start a new project in Bubble.io by naming your application, ideally reflecting its functionality (e.g., "Speech-to-Text App").

Install necessary plugins

Add all the necessary plugins. Start with the API Connector plugin to link with external APIs, such as OpenAI. Install an audio recorder plugin to enable direct voice input from your users, enriching the app’s interactivity.

Configure the API Connector

Configure the API Connector with the necessary API keys and endpoints. It’s crucial to ensure your authentication settings are correctly established for secure connections to services like OpenAI. Define the specific functionalities you need, such as speech-to-text, and prepare the corresponding API calls.

You'll find API documentation extremely helpful. Additionally, there are many YouTube tutorials available that can guide you through the process.

Design the user interface

Use the drag-and-drop tools to place and style elements like buttons, icons, and text areas that facilitate user interaction. Modify the appearance of UI elements to match the application’s design goals and enhance user experience.

Build workflows

Construct workflows to dictate how your app reacts to user interactions, such as activating and deactivating the audio recorder. Organize data handling strategies within these workflows to manage audio files efficiently, including their transmission to the designated API for analysis and processing.

Test and debug

Put the finishing touches on your application by refining workflows and UI components to ensure flawless integration. Leverage Bubble.io’s preview function to simulate the app’s performance, allowing you to assess functionality and user engagement prior to launch.

Bubble: Insights from our recent client project

We used the Bubble no-code platform to develop a solution for our customer – a Canada-based IT security startup. Our main task was to deliver a marketplace for security engineers, where companies could send suspicious or potentially malicious files to be checked by experts.

What have we learned from our experience with Bubble? Here's an overview.

Benefits of using Bubble for MVP development

What were the biggest advantages of using Bubble for this particular MVP development? We asked our team (including the client, a low-code developer, a PM, an AM, a PML, a QA, and a Practice Expert) about the top benefits from their point of view.

Rapid web & mobile app development

Using the Bubble tool significantly sped up our software development process. Its no-code capabilities allowed us to deliver a functioning product within a remarkably short timeframe.

Cost-effectiveness

Bubble proved to be a cost-efficient choice, enabling us to develop an MVP with fewer resources and a smaller budget than traditional custom coding would require.

Flexibility & scalability

Bubble offers a variety of ready-to-use templates and also supports customization with altered UI, unique features, and the option to integrate custom code. The client valued the ability to make smaller updates independently later on.

WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get)

This acronym describes a core feature of low-code platforms, making it incredibly easy to visualize your product. You can begin with a basic design of the front-end interface and either edit it or enhance it as you develop your project.

Accessibility for non-technical professionals

Last, but not least, it's fairly easy to learn Bubble. Bubble's intuitive drag-and-drop interface allows even users with minimal or no coding experience to contribute to complex projects actively.

Potential drawbacks and limitations of Bubble

The same team was then asked about the biggest challenges they faced during the project. Here's what they pointed at most often.

Custom plugin challenges

We needed a custom plugin for our project to meet our client's requirements, as Bubble’s file upload capabilities were inadequate. To accomplish this, we enlisted the help of a senior front-end developer. He delivered outstanding work, but developing a plugin on Bubble proved to be challenging and not as straightforward as expected.

Functionality limitations

We encountered several issues with custom plugins during development. This suggests that Bubble may need further enhancements to better support the implementation of advanced features and the development of more complex applications.

Knowledge requirements

While it's relatively straightforward to build and deploy your first app using a low-code platform, a basic understanding of variables, APIs, and workflows is still helpful. While many users with no coding skills find success, some technical knowledge can prevent risky workarounds in larger projects.

Vendor lock-in risks

Users of low-code platforms may find themselves dependent on their provider's tools and services. This reliance can become problematic if the provider alters terms, changes pricing, or discontinues services, posing significant operational risks.

Scalability issues

As your business grows and its needs evolve, low-code platforms may struggle to keep pace, often necessitating a shift to more scalable and flexible technologies.

Increasing long-term costs

Although low-code platforms offer lower initial expenses, the long-term costs can mount as you scale your project, especially with ongoing subscription fees and platform maintenance.

Integration barriers

Integrating low-code applications with existing systems and external applications can prove difficult, potentially limiting their utility in complex technological ecosystems.

Performance constraints

Low-code applications may not match the performance of custom-built solutions, particularly when handling large volumes of data or supporting many simultaneous users.

All pros & cons of Bubble from our POV

Pros

Cons

Rapid development

Small talent pool and lack of Bubble-experienced developers

The growing community of Bubble users

Required some experience with AWS, not typical for FE developer

Easy Figma 1:1 mirroring

Without built in, high quality UI library like Ant design for React.js

Simple access to integrations like Stripe, emails, SMS, and domains

Need of security audits to avoid potential risks

The ability to expand with JS plugins

Challenging for complex systems

Good performance and easy deployment

Dependency on Bubble's managed storage might be concerning

Mostly no-code, which makes it attractive for quick projects

Not optimal for complex business logic

Hard to recognize as no-code – looks professional

Limited with high-quality external documentation

Easy to learn, even by non-technical professionals

Cost-effective solution that fits tight budgets

Adaptable for multiple environments

Easy to make adjustments by clients with no prior coding experience

It's important to note that some community-recommended solutions on forums can be misleading or unsafe. For instance, a highly upvoted solution for One Time Pin verification had a significant security flaw: the code was visible in the console, allowing potential hijacking of user accounts. This highlights the need for users to carefully assess and thoroughly test community-recommended solutions to ensure they are secure and function as intended.

Best practices for leading client projects with Bubble no-code platform

Our experience with Bubble has led us to some conclusions that you might find helpful in your product development process as well. Below, you’ll find some of our team's top tips and tricks.

Bubble: Lessons learned

Make your client part of your process

Involve your client in the process as much as possible. This can include, e.g., inviting them to write acceptance criteria, define user stories, and take part in planning, and refinement stages.

Ensure all assets are in place

Make sure access to all needed assets is granted before the project begins. This will save you time later in the process and won't slow down your team along the way.

Define the roles

Ensure all the requirements for different team members are well-defined, and the project is planned in a manner that allows teams to make good use of their time.
In some cases, it might mean separating the project into two or more phases, such as, e.g., product design and low-/no-code development.

Add time buffer

When estimating a project in a new technology, consider adding more buffer than usual to diminish the risk of not delivering the solutions in time.

Question the status quo

During handover meetings, ask all the questions you have, and do your best to clarify any doubts.

If at the start of the project (or as soon as you realize), you feel that e.g. the low-fi wireframes might not be enough for the team to work comfortably, let everyone know.

Call for all hands on deck

When the designs are ready, they should be reviewed by the whole team – especially the QA – to ensure they cover the workflows in the app correctly.

Iterating on the design, instead of the product, makes it easier and cheaper for the client. This can be done during Sprint Zero or the first days of the QA assignment in the project.

Make quality your priority

Lastly, consider assigning your QA team for the whole project to ensure quality during the accelerated development process.

Get started on your MVP journey with Bubble

For organizations aiming to validate product ideas and accelerate their market entry, no-code platforms like Bubble present a compelling alternative to traditional, time-intensive coding methods.

Although these tools are not yet ready for highly complex projects, they serve as an effective springboard for launching initial MVPs, particularly for businesses with constrained resources.

Having said that, our experience with the tool has proven that while it's generally fairly easy to use by non-technical professionals, it's better to have an experienced Bubble developer on board. This way you can ensure that both security measures and external integration needs are well taken care of.

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Krystian Bergman

Senior Product Manager at Netguru
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