Saying my piece

Last night, In a fit of desperation, I kinda went on a serious rant about my experience with Adalo in another thread here in the forum. After a decent night’s sleep, I’m feeling a bit less chaotic this morning, thankfully. But after re-reading my post I realized it’s not a topic or discussion that I want to let disappear deep inside another unrelated post. So while I apologize for reposting something that I’ve previously posted, I felt it deserved its own thread. Maybe someone will have some sage advice for me that will help me get to my goals. One can hope.
After all, this forum really has been my lifeline through my entire Adalo project so far, and I am incredibly grateful for that.

Anyway, this was originally directed @jessehaywood and really at anybody else at Adalo who might be willing to listen to my pleading. Here goes:

I really appreciate that you take the time to post here. I’ve only been working with Adalo for a few months, but I settled here after a long search for solutions, and have been absolutely dedicated to learning the platform, leveraging its strengths, and building an app that (hopefully) will quantum-leap my business operations. This is really the stuff of dreams for small business and entrepreneurs, and I don’t want my appreciation for that (and you&the team) to be completely lost in the pleading and complaining that I do.

But, If I could please, please impress upon you that the bugginess of the platform (and general performance of course) - whether or not you understand it or find it “confusing” - has GOT to be a priority. It is absolutely RUINING my experience with Adalo to the point where after 700+ hours of my life invested in learning the platform and building a management app for my business, today for the first time I have been seriously considering leaving. I’m having an increasingly hard time seeing myself making it over the finish line with the way the platform has been acting up. And I’m a FANBOY, let me tell ya. I have been positively raving to anyone who will listen that this is the future of entreprenurial software development, going to change fundamentally how businesses operate, upend the app market as we know it. No-code is the future, and Adalo has got a lot of things right. The platform is absolutely unmatched (IN THEORY) for what I’m using it for.

But, if you check my history, you’ll likely see I’ve been increasingly “complainy” as recent bugs and issues have crushed my productivity on the platform. Long-established sections of my app have broken and I don’t know if I’ll be able to fix them. Each new functionality I add seems to take 10X longer than it should due to having to delete and rebuild buggy components and screens, and create elaborate work-arounds in logic and data structure because simple stuff that should work just doesnt… And now, after spending another 8 hours today trying to solve a bug without resolve, realizing I just need to abandon several screens and dozens of hours of work, and either rebuild those screens from scratch or scrap that section of the app altogether, I’m at my wits end.

I had a great 500+ hours of building, and yes, I had loads of bugs through that time, but I was able to learn and adapt and re-do and work-around. But now, my app is too big, too complex to have to rebuild over and over. These last couple hundred hours have been brutal and decreasingly productive. I’d thought a lot of my early tribulations could be chalked up to inexperience, but now I know that can’t be all of it. Random screens that were working fine suddenly start in with the white screen of death, Or key functionality that had been working all along suddenly literally just stops working across the app, or a series of screens start having untraceable errors on linking/data pass-through (and NO, its not a mistake in linking screens that are missing data - I can demonstrate to the contrary). And that’s just the big bugs that break things, not even the dozens upon dozens of little bugs like logic inputs dissapearing in components, visibility settings that refuse to work, even simple ones, simple logic specifications that just frustratingly don’t work. All of which, randomly, may actually start working if you delete and rebuild them enough, at which point you just have to slowly back away from the screen hoping not to look at it wrong or touch it again out of fear of it breaking again. And troubleshooting takes FOREVER because the editor is so laggy and theres absolutely no way to identify the source of a problem without going through component by componetnt, verifying everything is right, and when you’ve verified everything is right you then need to go through component by component, deleting and rebuilding until things work. It’s rough.

Pleasee, please impress upon whomever will listen to you this fact. I would stake a decent amount of my retirement savings betting that THIS is the #1 reason for your “churn” problem. Your “reasearch” tells you people have trouble learning the platform? Hogwash, it’s by far the most intuitive and easy to learn platform out there. Anyone with an iota of software experience should be able to figure it out. You guys have great documentation on the basic features, and like has been said, a plethora of additional resources for learning abound and are easy to find. This forum alone could serve as a functioning AAA.

It’s not that people come on the platform and can’t figure it out - it’s that they come on the platform, follow the tutorials, learn how it operates, get all excited, build build build, but then… Things don’t work. The editor lags. The editor freezes. Things that they’d worked hard to perfect suddenly break and become frustratingly impossible to fix (most common “solution” on the forum is “delete components until it works again then rebuild it”), then, the editor lags some more. This might all be fine for vanilla toy apps, but if youve spent multiple days perfecting the layout, formatting and “programming” of a beautiful report screen, only to have it go irrecoverably buggy, just deleting and rebuilding is not a great thing to hear. And vanilla toy apps aren’t where you’re going to make your money - those people will come and go and won’t be sustaining customers, or they’ll run on your free plan. People who build real tools and become dependant on your system is where your money is. And if someone like me just can’t get there due to the bugginess and performance problems, then you’ve got a big, big problem.

It’s not that AAA is a bad idea. It’s not that any of the “cool” things you say are in the pipeline are bad ideas. It’s just that none it means jack if when the wheels hit the road if the platform either simply doesn’t work, or kinda works but is an almighty exercise in patience and perseverance to get it to work. You can run the worlds best driving school, teaching people every intracacy of operating a car and navigating the roads, but if they then hop in the blingy, flashy car you give them, and the steering wheel pops off in their hands, careening the car of a bridge abutment, then all that education and bling was for naught.

And, correct me if I’m wrong, but comments and/or timelines on Adalo fixing its CORE functionality are conspicuously absent from your update posts. That, I think is one of the more frustrating things. “It confuses me”, and “don’t worry we hired a guy” aren’t cutting it. At least not for me.

I’m taking a breath tonight, and tomorrow Im going to reevaluate what I want to accomplish with the app. I may be able to scale back my ambitions, accept a much less capable app but maybe one that I can limp across the finish line for now and put to use through our busy season. Then, when things slow down again, I can reevaluate whether to continue to develop the Adalo app, or move to a different platform.

I may be 100% wrong on this. But I doubt it. If anyone in this community of active, invested, intelligent users disagrees with me, or finds that my depiction of what the actual real-world experience of working in Adalo for 700+Hours isn’t true to form, please speak up. I would be HAPPY to reevaluate my stance. In fact, Im so far into this, with so much invested, that I HOPE I’m wrong.

I feel like this could drive me to drink… But if it does, I’ll be drinking to Adalo’s success, and to better days ahead. I’m still with ya all, I’m just also really, really discouraged…


Your post @tbtilton hits the nail on the head in many respects. As you mention, there are a lot of good things about Adalo but there are also some really horrible ones and in many cases they’ve been broadly recognized as horrible for several years now.

The biggest problem I see is that the ‘old hands’ have adapted to the quirks of Adalo and no longer push for change or push for very advanced features. Advanced features are always welcome but not at the expense of the fundamentals.

When a new user takes Adalo out for a test drive it seems pretty friendly. Then they try to add a couple dozen words to a screen and the whole thing slows to a crawl, freezing even. Try editing any of those words and the whole thing gets chopped up, chopped off or just chopped. Sound is another area newbs will want to try out. Well if the text-handling function capabilities of Adalo haven’t chased them off, that piece of crap sound player and all the associated idiotic workarounds will.

The complexity of turning everything into a list even if it’s only a list of one, of channelling everything through a single accessible variable – the logged in user number – is simply **********. Things need to be accessed directly even if it means a complete overhaul of the architecture.

In order to survive, Adalo needs to recruit newbs, not chase them off. In order to survive, Adalo needs to retain it’s experienced user base as well. Attrition is the enemy here.

No offense but you’re trippin’ if you think we aren’t pushing for changes too.

Do you honestly believe we enjoy creating whacky workarounds?! :joy: Boo, we’re doing these workarounds to help YOU out! Not out of pure enjoyment.

It’s rare that sections need a ton of words. I’ve only run into an issue on 2 apps where I’ve had to split the text into multiple text components or a list. Only use a paragraph at a time per text component to combat that issue.

There is nothing functionally wrong with the audio player component. It sounds like you’re wanting the audio player to do more than just play audio. It plays audio just fine.

Adalo is trying to cater to a very broad audience of app makers, from beginners to experienced developers in all niches/industries. Adalo is NOT a specialized platform in the music niche, so yes, the audio player does not have all of the bells and whistles of an audio player that you may find in an audio-specific app. This is why we have to create the workarounds.

Adalo can be used to create just about anything. Once you’re more comfortable with the database and how data passes from screen to screen, you’ll find that making lists of things isn’t so bad, even if it’s just a list of one record.