Bubble no longer a top no code web app builder?
In the past, we’ve confidently recommended Bubble.io as the top drag and drop builder for complex web apps and sites.
However, Bubble recently introduced an abrupt change to its pricing method.
We won’t go into details, but this change included – surprise, surprise – higher costs.
In fact, the change has been significant enough to force many non tech founders who built their SaaS products on Bubble to close down.
Unfortunately, if you build an app on Bubble, it uses their proprietary codebase so you can’t export and run it on a different platform.
You’ll have to start again from scratch.
Unfortunately, you’ll find a whole boatload of people doing just that.
Bubble is still a viable no-code web app builder
It’s no longer the default choice, but we don’t think it’s fair to say Bubble is off the table.
Yes, the change is unfortunate, but we’d still recommend Bubble to new non-tech founders who want to build complex web apps with a drag-and-drop builder.
After all, it’s important to remember the rest of Bubble’s robust ecosystem is unchanged.
Existing users suffer due to the change, but new users will always make their products work, since to them, it’s the only system they’ve ever had to work with.
We understand, though, how this has left an irreversibly bad impression on some.
There are founders who will hate being at the mercy of a third party, or at least at the mercy of Bubble.
The saying ‘fool me twice, shame on me’ comes to mind, and Bubble has already drawn first blood.
If you no longer want to use Bubble, here are three alternative no-code web app builders that will still let you build complex web-based apps and sites.
1st use case: Own your code, hire a developer later
Our first use case sees the non-tech founder that:
- wants to go solo for as long as possible
- is open to the idea of hiring developers down the road
- hates being locked into a platform like Bubble
- prioritizes function and freedom over user-friendliness and quick results
- is prepared to put in the work
For you, we’d recommend Wappler.
Wappler is a low code web app builder that allows users to build complex apps.
Don’t let the term low-code scare you – that just means a non technical founder can’t fully utilize certain functions that require hard-coding.
The no code portions are fully accessible to all, and with Wappler, comprehensive enough to build apps with sophisticated logic flows and third-party integration – just like with Bubble.
Compared to Bubble, Wappler has some key differences:
- You can access your source code and files any time, and it’s all in HTML and CSS – so if they pull a Bubble, you can turn the other cheek and take your project elsewhere.
- There’s no hosting option like on Bubble, so you set up and connect your own external hosting – that’s a good thing if you want long term sustainability.
- Having a low code option makes hiring a developer down the line much more feasible – as long as you’ve done a decent job up to that point, developers like us can take over and start coding on the platform itself.
We’ve always thought Bubble allowed non tech founders to reach the limits of no code development (as long as they could afford it).
However, Wappler bridges the gap between zero and hard code so much better – it’s literally a seamless transition.
Just be sure to go through their tutorial and keep it open as you navigate your first project; like Bubble, the learning curve will be steep.
2nd use case: Own your code but no developers
For our second use case, we have the non tech founder that:
- wants to go solo for as long as possible
- has no plans to hire a developer
The app doesn’t have to be easily portable and can stay no code forever, meaning Wappler’s learning curve isn’t worth your time.
Actually, you know what?
Don’t bother looking for alternatives.
Just give up and go back to Bubble.
For you, we recommend using WeWeb.
WeWeb is a true no code web app builder that offers most of the functionality of Bubble with a refreshingly modern and easy-to-use drag and drop editor.
With WeWeb, you can:
- build complex workflows.
- connect to all the usual third party APIs, and
- upload custom elements
WeWeb also lets you export your source code, just not as easily as Wappler.
It can be done, though, which is more than can be said for Bubble.
Like Wappler, WeWeb doesn’t host or provide a backend – you decide what you want to use
The most common stack we’ve seen is a combination of WeWeb and Xano.
If you have your own preferred option for a no code backend builder, go ahead and use that.
WeWeb’s pricing is also similar enough to Wappler, so the deciding factor is what you see happening with your no code app in the long run.
With Wappler, it’s going to be easier to shift the project to custom code when the time comes.
If you’re sure that time is ‘never’, WeWeb is an easier front end builder to master.
3rd use case: A specific web app
The last use case looks at founders with a specific type of app in mind.
Instead of using a generalist no code web app builder, choose a platform that specializes in the kind of app you want to build.
If it’s a common app type, there’s bound to be a white label provider.
For example, if you want to build a marketplace app, Sharetribe is a no code web app builder that caters to marketplace development.
If you’re completely new, Sharetribe will handle all technical parts of a marketplace app, including:
- user management
- payment processing
- listing management
- legal compliance
They’ve helped over 1000 marketplaces all over the world set up shop via two plans that together, cater to pretty much any marketplace founder.
Got a new idea you want to validate fast?
Start with Sharetribe Go for templates with essential marketplace features out-of-the-box.
As you grow and want to further customize your marketplace, move to Sharetribe Flex, which gives you a headless marketplace backend for a developer to connect to a marketplace UI built to your specifications.
Technically a non tech founder could even build this custom interface themselves, but let’s take baby steps here.
You’d never get this level of specialized features out-of-the-box even from Bubble or Wappler, and yes, Sharetibe lets you export your data.
Of course, this is one example of a specialist no code web app builder being a superior choice.
If you already have a type of app in mind, check out No-Code Tech – an aggregator that curates lists of no code tools by category and use case.
The use cases are endless and we ain’t doing all your homework for you!
Our suggestion for the average non tech founder
We’re going to put ourselves in your shoes for a moment.
If we understand the universe correctly, the average non tech founder thinks a bit like this:
- I’m not sure what I want to build
- I have little to no coding knowledge
- I want to keep costs low in case I fail, and
- Honestly, I don’t know whether I want to hire a developer down the line
- I don’t even know if this idea will take off
- Why do my farts smell like coffee?
That last one might just be us, but let’s address the rest.
First, the whole point of no code is low costs – it’s an alternative to hiring web app developers.
Compare it that way and suddenly the priciest no code platforms become dirt cheap.
You enjoy significant cost-savings the moment you go no code.
Do you really need to penny-pinch even more?
It’s like when companies outsource their software projects overseas.
They’re already getting it for cheap.
Some directors go from frugal to straight up stingy and hire the very cheapest of the cheap – and then complain when the team sucks and the project ultimately fails.
Don’t be that guy.
In fact, if you’re looking for Bubble alternatives, you’re definitely not that guy.
Choose a robust option with the most potential for long-term development.
Gun to our head, we’d put all our eggs into the Wappler basket.
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