Taking the Brakes Off

I’ve been using Adalo since December, and love it as a product. I have been involved with Bubble since it was in is very early stages, and am a real convert to Adalo. So far, I have a number of apps with Adalo that I cannot get across the line to completion because of restrictions in the functionality at the moment.

There are now over 300 feature requests on the roadmap, most of which relate to things that can be achieved or worked around. There are a few features, however, that I think would really take the brakes off development with Adalo, and allow more people to adopt it.

My suggestions for priorities to enable much more complex apps are:

  1. States (this is planned: https://ideas.adalo.com/feature-requests/p/states)
    Particularly for Web Apps, this will enable some really useful navigation/UI features that simply aren’t possible (if at all) without clunky workarounds at the moment.

  2. Reusable Elements (not yet planned: https://ideas.adalo.com/feature-requests/p/reusable-elements)
    At present, any sort of develompent requires the user to remember everything they have done at every stage. To enable any sort of consistency on bigger or mature apps, this is an absolute ‘must’. It will also enable more competent Adalo users to create templates for other users which, in turn, will help drive adoption.

  3. Custom Actions (In development: https://ideas.adalo.com/feature-requests/p/custom-actions)
    These allow slightly more cabable users to open up Adalo to the internet’s API ecosystem and bring (or send out) data on a huge scale.

  4. I would only add to that some of the issues I raised here for European users: Security, Encryption, Sustainability & GDPR - we had a good answer from Adalo in January, but it would be great to get this updated.

With these four done, in my view there is almost no existing app that couldn’t be replicated on Adalo which, in itself, would be the most incredible selling point.

Until then, however, Adalo is fun but probably can’t be used in production (particularly in the EU) - it’s a hobby platform as it currently stands. A really good one at that (we must remember that it is new!), and one with a huge amount of potential (I think to overtake and eclipse Bubble) - I, for one, am along for the journey!

That’s my thoughts for ‘quick win priorities’ to really open up the platform - what does anyone else think?

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@dosandco thanks for the post. It was worth a read but what caught my attention was your note on using in the EU. I’m in the UK and we too have to follow GDPR. Does this mean I cannot launch my app here? I feel I am about 50% of the way into completing the app and launching my MVP.

Has all my effort so far been a waste? @Ben, @jeremy, @ashley please could you let me know?

Hi Arun,

GDPR applies in the UK - whether or not you will be compliant depends on a number of factors. It’s relevance also depends on whether or not your app stores any Personal Data (which has a specific meaning in GDPR) - check out the Information Commissioner’s Office for more information

Hi Darragh,
Yes, my app will have to store personal data but I didn’t realise that Adalo isn’t fully compliant on GDPR matters. The personal data will be stored in Adalo’s servers as it seems.

All I want to understand is if launching my app in UK is a problem as things stand with Adalo. I’m happy to jump through a few hoops to get it launched, but all I need to know is to what extent will Adalo’s compliance be sufficient for getting out my MVP.

Any pointers? or anyone else launched an app in the UK/EU while collecting user data?

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Love your list, I am also a Bubbler and see great potential in Adalo.

One thing I think is really needed is searchable/sortable tables. It’s fine having data in the collection tables, but presenting this data to client admin via the app in a table format that is searchable is critical to many business applications and BI. I know they have lists, but they are very limiting.

Great list

I agree with the general sentiment of this post that Adalo is extremely promising but not quite ready for primetime. IMO there is a different MVP feature set that is lacking however:

  1. States: not a blocker given current hacks with visibility

  2. Reusable elements: will be addressed inherently by component marketplace (assuming they add a “private” option). That is already in progress.

  3. Custom Actions: agree this would be nice but I would argue having a notification type=webhook would allow you to solve this + enable other flexibility/integration so would be a bigger win.

  4. For GDPR compliance: agreed they need servers in different datacenters not just for this reason but also for usability. The app is almost unusable in Asia right now.

IMO there are two missing from this list that are essential to enable true production usage:

  1. Currently there is no bulletproof way to do development safely. It requires cowboy coding on the live app and risking breaking things for paying customers or a tapdance forking a sandbox app and manually porting changes/data to promote features live. Solving that is something that I believe should take high priority to “cross the chasm” of seriousness for this to become a tool that companies can use.

  2. The data in Adalo collections is trapped and not queryable via external services. Unless you had the foresight to house your data in an external db like Airtable and use the external collections feature (and then you open a whole other can of worms in terms of degraded functionality) it is impossible to run any business logic on the database that’s not triggered by the user’s actions. And there is no simple way to mirror the collections to external sources (plus you’d be getting messy then anyways violating DRY).

That said, there is some real promise here to bundle all of the above once it exists and roll it under the Business Plan pricing tier to make some real differentiation to justify that plan type. Currently it’s just 20GB vs. 5GB of storage and I can’t imagine many people are exhausting their 5GB cap and moving to the Business Plan. Paying for multiple points of presence for global performance, compliance, proper dev/test/stage/prod workflows, access to pre-built components, ability to expose collections via API to external services… these are all features I believe serious folks will need and would be willing to pay for. The $50/mo plan is how you build your MVP, gain initial traction then the $200/mo plan is how you host it in production.

Anyways, I am facing the choice now whether to stop everything and port our entire data model to AirTable, re-architect the app using external collections vs. waiting for the capability to expose Adalo data collections to external services. And as long as I have to do all the work to move the db I’m admittedly investigating Bubble to be completely transparent. Leaning towards moving data to AirTable and trying to stay with Adalo via external collections so I can salvage much of the work that’s already been done. Tradeoffs everywhere but in all Adalo feels like a more nimble tool than Bubble and has more long-term promise so it’s a question of how soon they can close the gaps on the features that preclude it from being ready for primetime.

Far be it from me to suggest business advice to Adalo but given how much promise the tool has and how hot the space is, could you make the case to raise another tranche of investment and with that $$ put a team on building out these features which would justify the Business plan?

Anyways happy overall and thrilled with the agility this tool enables but agreed that we’re all gambling alongside Adalo in building ontop of this platform. We’ve jumped out of the plane together and are knitting our respective harnesses (apps) while they’re knitting the parachute (platform) hoping both come together before the ground arrives :wink:

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Thanks @grid7 - I agree with your sentiments about payment. I also think that some sort of dev/live distinction should be on the list!

Effectively, inbound and outbound Rest API would cover your web hook and my custom actions.

If these options helped to bridge the gap to workable and publishable apps, I wouldn’t hesitate to switch to the Pro plan.

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Very much in agreement with @grid7 and @dosandco . I cannot justify staying with (and paying for) Adalo in the long term without a clearer roadmap of GDPR compliance and an API both to bring data in and send it out. I understand things are under development but we do need visibility of what will be delivered by when.

To be clear- no app developed anywhere in the world that will be available to any user in the UK/Europe will be able to be released to the public unless there is GDPR compliance. And this isn’t a box ticking “cover your ass” thing. It’s a question that 50% of my potential clients ask me about in the first sales discovery call. If I can’t say yes, the call will end there.

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So much potential but to many features missing and it does not make me feel good when not one person from Adalo has replied in this thread. I’m biting the bullet and learning Dart & Flutter as I cant find not one no code or low code solution that has the features I need

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Very much in agreement here. @dosandco your list is very important but I have to say that @grid7’s two points are even more critical. (although for the ‘versioning issue’, could you not just make a copy of the project and use that to test and make changes?)

I’ve gone the Airtable route and have built some great workarounds to Adalo limitations (could not have done it without your help @dosandco!), but still got some serious limitations that I am totally stuck on… and which could be easily fixed by allowing us a little more control to insert scripts/webhooks etc. - even just changing some of the API formatting!

Agree fully with @cars111. There is so much potential here and I’ve invested tons of hours in this, and with clients that loved the MVP but I just cannot deliver a working product like this.

I was a huge fan when I started a few months go, but def feel we need better support and communication. Would love to hear from @Ben on this thread…

Any chance of thoughts on this from @Ben or @jeremy or @ashley? You have some big fans on this page who I know would love your feedback?

Some of the ‘roadblocks’ aren’t currently on the “Planned List”, which suggests a disconnect between your plans and some of the ‘power users’ who’ve commented on my thread above - they are all capable and vocal Adalo ambassadors elsewhere on this forum.

You can see that people are contemplating big decisions about whether to stay with Adalo or to go elsewhere - I don’t think anyone expects you to just agree with what’s written (or to make promises about timing/roadmaps), but it’s quite conspicuous that no-one from Adalo has said anything on this thread at all…

I think the key is when the Marketplace Component and Custom Action released. When those 2 features release, I think it will radically speed up the development all of our pending features and components.

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Custom Action went live in beta this week: Custom Actions is Now in Beta!

Marketplace Component is, apparently, also in early release:

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It would be nice to get some feedback on this.

Hey there @Niam @dosandco & co. There is a lot of good stuff here, and I agree with almost all of it. Of the original 4 things mentioned, 2 are in development currently (custom actions, in beta, and security / privacy), and the other 2 are high on our list. We’re currently prioritizing the component marketplace above the other two, because it will allow us to move faster in building new features (and let you all contribute!), while also allowing us to separately address core issues like the others mentioned.

Reusable components (built in Adalo) and versioning are both also things that are being worked on in the early stages right now, but we haven’t talked about either publicly much because we don’t want to get everyone’s hopes up without a definite timeline.

Ultimately we have been doing a bad job of keeping everybody up to date on what we’re working on, and we need to do a better job of this. We’ve always wanted to build with the community, and we have taken a lot of great feedback from everyone, but we should do a better job communicating back in terms of what we prioritize and plan.

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How about a live video conference every 2 weeks or so to review current and upcoming features and answer questions?

Appsheet does this and at times s very useful.

@rickman I think that’s a good idea. We’ve been discussing something similar. Going to target late next week. I’ll post an update here with more info & a link once we have that set up.

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Here are the details for the Community Q&A session this Friday: Adalo Community Q&A

Please post your questions in that thread.

Thanks!
-Ben

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Dear @Ben, dear Adalo team,

has this topic been discussed in the Community Q&A session? Do I find an (written) output of this session, as I am not able to watch 45min sadly.

We (as all solutions available for EU countries) need urgent answers on the recent court decisions on GDPR / EU-US Privacy Shield: curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2020-07/cp200091en.pdf

We need some formal reasons why to “trust” Adalo. Bubble.io is doing a great job in this regard (bubble.io / investordescription.pdf) and we are willing to pay for Adalo if you publish some documents here.

Thanks a lot! Kind regards from Austria :slight_smile:

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Hi everyone,
Can someone please let us know the situation regarding GDPR in EU (Europe) to know whether it is worth continuing with app development? Thanks.

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