Bravo Studio is one of those tools that made a very strong debut within the Nocode space and continues to make great strides when it comes to growing their following base and features.
We wanted to know the good, the bad and the ugly of launching an app builder for designers. His view of the Nocode movement and his top tips for first-time entrepreneurs.
Sure! I had my own startup in the UK for a few years, before I moved to Barcelona and joined Typeform pretty early on as CTO and grew the tech team there 10x.
Well when I was at Typeform I had the idea of making a tool that could be a UI for APIs (a bit like Zapier in the frontend), but at Typeform it never really got beyond just data collection. After I left Typeform I came across a team that had been building Enterprise mobile development tools with some great ideas to make the apps even easier, and we decided to bring all these ideas together.
So in April 2019 we formed Bravo Studio to make it easy to create native mobile apps by connecting APIs to Figma designs.
I think our biggest accomplishment was switching on the paid plans in June last year. The uptake by our users really validated the idea of Bravo and showed the value the service provides.
The area where our learning curve has been steepest is in how to reach our initial target market - freelance designers - and how to make APIs easy for them to work with.
There are really 3 main UI design tools Adobe XD, Figma and Sketch. Sketch historically has been the leader, but Figma has grown massively in the past few years and being browser based with well documented APIs made it a great fit for our first design engine we worked with (but we are about to add another one 🤔 )
The massive advantage of working with a design tool like Figma is that it allows designers to take their existing designs and turn them into an app by simply adding a few annotations to their designs and then connecting their designs to APIs. As we leverage the design capabilities of the design tool, the designer can have the ultimate flexibility with their design rather than be locked into a number of existing templates.
There are a number of benefits of leveraging design tools, as you can utilise their extension systems.
So for example LottieFiles has created a plugin for Figma that generates annotations that are compatible with Bravo so it is super easy to add LottieFile animations to a Bravo App design.
Learning Bravo Studio is pretty easy if you know Figma already (and if you don’t there are lots of resources to help). We also have a lot of documentation and tutorials on our site which explains how to annotate your designs to help Bravo understand how the app should work (or add functionality that goes beyond Figma’s prototyping), how to connect to APIs and how to publish to the Google and Apple App stores. Alongside this we have a pretty active community where people can help each other out with specific questions.
Bravo studio is a really flexible tool which you can use to create a huge variety of mobile apps, so we haven’t seen one particular type of app take prominence. We have medical apps, e-commerce apps, school apps, utility apps - it continues to surprise us what people build with Bravo Studio
Our first big push of users came with our first launch on producthunt in December 2019. That really helped raise awareness of Bravo and we even had a number of users create tutorials for Bravo on Youtube of the back of the initial launch.
The biggest difference between us and other app builders is our focus on design.
We feel that functionality is becoming a commodity and design is critical in how you differentiate your applications, and to do that you need to have the flexibility that comes with using the major design tools.
Actually there is another difference, due to our focus on APIs rather than functionality, we can actually work with other app builders that have APIs if your app needs to have the flexibility of design that we can provide.
The next big milestones in 2021 for us are:
1. Working with more design tools
2. Making the integration with APIs easier
3. Putting native payments into Bravo apps.
I think we are going to see more and more nocode tools so that everyone can get the functionality they need.
I also think we will see more innovation in the mobile application no-code space as it is currently so expensive for a company to make a native, publishable mobile app (whereas it is much easier / cheaper to make a website).
I think it is great that technology is being democratized so that more people can be involved in the creation of digital products.
The only challenge is that no-code is such a big subject with so many options, that is often hard for people to know where to start.
I would recommend rather than learning no-code, have a project that you want to implement and then figure out which tools would be good ones to help implement it (nocode.tech might be a good place to start 😛 ).
Find more inspiring stories like Toby's, tutorials, and insights into building apps without code. Our resources can benefit you no matter what your current skill level is. Think of it as a free alternative to code college.
Click here to see everything we have to offer at NoCode.tech