Review of Bravo, A Low Code Platform
This week we are taking some time to review a very cool low-code solution, Bravo. Bravo has a really unique implementation. It actually leverages Figma designs by using AI to translate them into code. Let’s kick it off by taking a look at some of the things this platform does well.
One: The design process is extremely well thought out. Because it is powered by Figma, you have first-class design tools. This enables you to have visually stunning apps by the time you’re done. On the other hand, some platforms may have limited design tools.
Two: Another benefit of building on top of Figma is that you can utilize existing Figma designs. The community tab on Figma’s site is filled with thousands of designs that are available for you to access, modify, and leverage in your app. This can supercharge your design timeline.
Three: Of the platforms we’ve tested, Bravo is best for in-depth UI/UX design. Again standing on the shoulders of Figma’s fantastic platform, means that Bravo stands head and shoulders above other tools in this area.
Four: Navigation is taken care of with Figma’s prototyping tool. It is very intuitive to use. And Figma makes it easy to learn how to build prototypes out of your designs. Keep in mind that Bravo has its own schema for how it wants you to set up that prototype so it gets interpreted into code properly. There is a certain amount of heavy lifting or workload here, but the prototyping tools within Figma are very intuitive.
Five: With Bravo, it is easy to fetch and display remote data. So if you want to display selections, the data, weather data, or internal reporting data, your Bravo app can display it.
Six: OAuth works well as does Firebase authentication. Log-in is an essential feature for 90 percent of apps, and these two options work really well for that.
One: Form validation is completely lacking. For example, if you want to ensure that only numbers are used in a phone number field, unfortunately, that is not something you can do with Bravo. If you want to ensure that a password has a certain number or type of characters, that’s a no-go. Basically, if you need the app to check to make sure that the data being inputted into a form is expected, it’s not possible within Bravo.
Two: Access token management is difficult for custom backends. So while OAuth and Firebase authentication works well, if you want to use a custom backend with a simple email and password login, it’s extremely difficult. This essentially comes down to Bravo not being able to do two tasks from form submission. It can either save the access token or it can take a user to the next screen. Obviously, we would want an app to be able to both save user’s token and take them to the next screen.
Three: In addition to form validation, multi-page forms and the ability to share data across pages just don’t exist. All pages basically exist siloed from one another, aside from rudimentary global variables.
Four: While the design process utilizes Figma well, it is not simple. To translate the designs properly into code, Bravo requires a complete restructuring of standard Figma files and a lot of tweaking to get it right. Fetching and displaying data is easy (as mentioned in our Pros), but performing logical operations with that data is not. Just on a fundamental level, logical operations are difficult to represent visually rather than verbally.
Five: Real-time data is basically impossible. While Bravo can make API calls to fetch data, there is no support for WebSockets, which essentially accomplishes the inverse: wait and receive data updates.
Six: Bravo tags limit the capabilities and customization of the platform. Tags are available for a variety of functions, but you’re limited to those functions. You’re also not able to customize those functions. The lack of form validation is an example of this. You can use a tag to set a text form, but you cannot customize the text field tag to accept only certain types of text.
Seven: There is no ability to incorporate custom components. If the platform doesn’t support it, you can’t do it. You cannot incorporate custom code. You cannot build workarounds.
Overall, we feel that Bravo is a great option if you have a simple app that needs to be beautiful. This is also an excellent option if you need to show something to investors. It would be a great option for limited uses. The limitations are essentially the limitations of the platform itself. If you need features that go outside of what the platform supports, it simply cannot be done.
Originally published at https://blog.bixly.com.