When it comes to web development, performance is a frequent topic of discussion, particularly when utilizing no-code tools. As your user base and data grow, the question arises: will my web app continue to run efficiently?
Fortunately, in most cases, the answer is yes. Bubble, a no-code web-building platform, is designed to host applications that match or surpass traditionally coded software’s performance. Much of the optimization occurs behind the scenes and is consistently enhanced.
Nevertheless, as the app creator, your actions play a significant role in performance, regardless of the framework. While Bubble is generally optimized for a fast and efficient user experience, it is still possible to unintentionally slow down your app if you need to be set up correctly.
Many Bubble users are drawn to the platform precisely because they are new to web development and may be unaware that similar principles apply to code and no-code development.
In this blog post, we will explore common pitfalls that app builders encounter in their Bubble apps and provide practical tips to ensure a seamless experience for your users.
Tip 1: Create the Illusion – The Magic of App Performance
When it comes to app performance, imagine yourself as a magician on a stage. Just like a magic show, it’s not about real magic but about controlling what your audience sees.
The same applies to designing for performance. What matters to users is how fast your app appears, not how fast it is.
Like a magician, you can use tricks to make your app seem faster than it is or distract users while performing complex tasks behind the scenes.
Remember, what truly counts is how users perceive your app’s performance. The actual performance happens backstage, where nobody is watching.
Tip 2: The Importance of Planning in Web App Development
Proper planning is crucial when developing a web app, whether using a no-code platform like Bubble or traditional coding methods.
Without proper planning, your application can quickly become disorganized, with a mix of old and new ideas that can lead to a bloated and inefficient product.
Instead of improvising as you go, take some time to establish the following before diving into the Bubble editor:
- Determine the necessary Data Types using the Data Concept model.
- Identify the essential features for the initial version and decide what can be left out.
- Consider user expectations regarding security and privacy.
- Define the user journey for registration, onboarding, and daily tasks.
- Evaluate how the user journey affects the structure of your web pages.
- Decide on the desired design and strive for consistency across all app sections.
While these points may not appear directly related to performance, they are crucial. As discussed in this article, every component you add to your app will improve its overall speed.
Poorly organized work often results in unnecessary data buildup that can slow down your app. It’s important to clearly understand your project before starting its development.
Additionally, Bubble is best suited for building complete applications rather than being used as a notepad or a platform for unfinished ideas and features. If you have random exciting ideas or unfinished concepts, exploring them elsewhere is better.
Tip 3: Keep your pages weightless
From a performance perspective, this means that whatever you add to your app, you also add to the code that Bubble creates. If you add a lot of elements like inputs, buttons, images, and groups, Bubble needs to add lines of code for each one.
Individually, these lines don’t make much of a difference, but as you add more elements, you’ll notice that the page takes longer to load, and scrolling becomes choppy.
The browser has to calculate each element’s size, position, and styling before showing everything on the screen. It’s not just the elements on the page that contribute to the codebase; every workflow and action you add in the workflow editor also adds to the page’s overall weight.
Watch out for the Repeating Group trap. When we talk about page elements, we’re referring to them from a front-end perspective, not the Bubble editor perspective.
Let’s say you have a Repeating Group that displays a list of users, each with information like a profile image, name, and phone number. Initially, it worked fine. But as the number of users increases to 100, 1,000, or even 10,000, those innocent-looking six elements in the editor become much larger.
For example, a Repeating Group with 10,000 rows containing five elements adds up to 50,001 elements in total. That’s a lot of calculations and rendering that the user’s device has to handle. As a result, the page becomes noticeably slow to load, and moving around feels choppy.
By keeping your pages lightweight and mindful of the potential Repeating Group trap, you can enhance your web app’s performance on Bubble.
Tip 4: Making Single-page Applications Lightning Fast with Smart Planning
You might wonder if single-page applications are problematic because they have many elements. Well, that’s not entirely true, but it all comes down to effective planning.
In reality, single-page applications can be high-speed because they don’t require reloading the entire page (usually the slowest part of any website process). Instead, they hide and show different groups and elements as needed.
Achieving optimal performance involves making compromises. With a single-page application, you trade slightly longer page load times for much faster navigation. This trade-off makes a lot of sense for SaaS products.
However, it can be a concern for websites that rely on quick page load speeds for SEO purposes. The key is understanding the compromises and performance decisions you’re willing to make and sticking to them.
If you create an app with only one page, keep the following in mind: Adding more features to the page increases its weight. Identify the features your users will frequently access and keep them on a single page.
Less frequently used features like sign-up, onboarding, user profile settings, and general settings can be moved to separate pages, keeping the app lightweight and efficient.
Tip 5: Manage File Downloads Efficiently
When it comes to web pages, they consist of various files that need to be downloaded. Apart from the Bubble code base, other elements contribute to the overall download size.
Consider that most files are downloaded only once per device, making this especially crucial for first-time users and search engine bots.
Images tend to occupy a significant portion of a page’s size due to the amount of information they contain. Optimize your images by keeping them small and compressed using services like Tinypng.
Fonts and icons
Fonts and icons are files containing symbols, regardless of whether they’re letters or smiley faces. Minimize the number of different fonts and icon packs you use since each requires a separate download. If you’re already using Bubble’s built-in icons (part of FontAwesome), avoid adding the Material Font library, as it would mean users have to download two libraries.
In any programming language, achieving high performance requires careful planning, experience, and knowledge. The same applies to Bubble, a platform for building web apps. You have the power to create apps that run smoothly and efficiently, or you can unintentionally slow them down.
The choices you make throughout the development process play a crucial role.
However, app performance is not the sole factor to consider. Perceived performance is a combination of technology, design, and psychology.
Your goal should not solely be to make the fastest app possible. While efficiency is important, your ultimate aim should be to design an application that brings joy to your users. This involves creating a fast enough app while compensating for other areas through clever design and effective communication.
While performance is a significant measure, it is not the only one. Strike a balance as you allocate your development time and resources. Prioritize getting your product to the market rather than obsessing over shaving off mere fractions of a second in page load times. Identify processes that noticeably hinder user experience, but remember that minor delays are acceptable and tolerated by users.
This article provides helpful pointers to get you started. If you are eager to delve deeper into optimizing the performance of Bubble apps, visit Bubblehelpers to get started with the Bubble platform.