Join the Apollo Beta for FREE! Help the Databass!

Hello to all the data curious, database lovers, and sciency datamungers! I have a small favor to ask of you all. At DataStax we just opened up our Apollo service i.e. “Apache Cassandra as a Service” i.e. DBaaS offering and I’m looking for people that want to test drive the database! Now, you don’t have to actually tell me you’re using it or anything, but I’d love to know if you are. Maybe we could even chat about your experience using it.

To get started:

  1. Sign up here.
  2. Create a database here.
  3. Pick a driver here.  [C#/F#, Node.js/JavaScript, Java, C++, and Python] – I added F# cuz ya know, that’s how F# works and all, you just use the C# driver and BOOM, you’ve got F# access!!
  4. Write CQL and execute the database!
  5. Profit!

Alright, where profit is that’s when you let me know what works for you and what doesn’t. Feel free to comment here, ping me via Twitter @adron, or via the response form here, or however you’ve got to message me. I’d be super stoked to chat!

Getting Started Specifics

To create a database, once you’ve got an account, just navigate to and you’ll get prompted with the following screen.


Currently during beta we have AWS as the provider option, and you can choose between Developer, Startup, Standard, and Enterprise. Each offering various configurations and future prospective SLA’s and such.


Once you have the database name, keyspace, user name, and you password set, click on Launch Database and the spin up of the multi-node database will begin. You’ll be greeted with a message notifying you that it’ll take a little bit of time for the database to spin up and an email will be sent once it is done. Enjoy a coffee in the meantime.


Once the database spins up there are two key sections on the database page. First, there is the connection details. They’re located in the bottom left of the database page.


If you click on the “Learn How” you’ll get directly linked to the docs pages with multiple examples of how to get connected to the database you’ve just created. You can also reset your password here and retrieve the security bundle (it’s a tar/zip file) that you’ll need to authenticate any applications with.

The other part that can be really helpful, especially as you do any development or testing with your database is the grafana dashboard. It’s on the Health tab of the database page.


A trick that I used, to get an easier and full screen view of all the metrics, is to inspect the page right at the metrics, within that you’ll find the iframe in which to get the link specifically to the Grafana metrics. They look pretty nice broken out of frame! As you work through queries and such keep an eye on this for extra insight.


Any other thoughts, contemplation, or otherwise do get in touch!




Getting Started with Swift, For NON-Apple Devs

This past weekend I attempted to get started with Swift coding. Since I have not been an Apple Developer for a while, it wasn’t immediately obvious how to get started. But once I fumbled around a few minutes I realized I needed a developer account to get the latest XCode. Jeez, it really shows how much Apple loves to lock you in hard core to their development ecosystem. An unfortunate trait of a company that is actually extremely closed in much of its behavior, while taking advantage of so much of the open source community. But I digress, this isn’t a rant about the unethical behavior of Apple. I’ll reserve that for the novels worth of material it deserves.

One I signed up for the developer program, which costs $99 bucks, I immediately made my first huge mistake. This damnable mistake blew the entire weekend of hacking. I added under “Company” my simple DBA (Doing Business As) name. I already had an account, and because of this change for making this existing account become a developer account from a personal base level account, sprung a red flag. I checked back frequently over the weekend, but it wasn’t until Monday that somebody checked the app, realized the Company name I added was merely a DBA and ok’d my account. So far, 38 hours down the drain for getting started hacking on Swift! Dammit.

However, this morning I was happy to find everything was ok’d, and thus, the remaining bit of this blog entry is a bit more example and a little less story of my day.

Developer @ Apple
Developer @ Apple

Getting XCode 6 beta

I wanted to do Swift hacking, the first step was to download XCode 6 beta. That’s available via download on the iOS Developer page (and I suppose the Mac Developer page). Scroll down on that page until you find the XCode Download button.

The Warnings and the Download XCode 6 beta page.
The Warnings and the Download XCode 6 beta page.

Also note, if you’re looking to do Swift hacking like I’m doing here, I’d actually advise against getting the iOS 8 beta or OS-X Yosemite Developer Previews right now. Best to keep as stable a machine while toying around with a new language. At least, that’s what the conversations have been so far…

OS-X Yosemite & iOS 8
OS-X Yosemite & iOS 8

Once I got Xcode 6 beta installed I dove right into creating a Swift Project. I created a simple new project that is empty to just check out what Xcode 6 provides out of box for the Swift Project.

Selecting an empty Xcode 6 beta project to use with Swift.
Selecting an empty Xcode 6 beta project to use with Swift.

The next dialog is where the Swift magic is selected.

Selecting Swift, entering a project name and other information dialog.
Selecting Swift, entering a project name and other information dialog.

After that I just clicked through on defaults until I got into the Xcode IDE with the project open.

Selecting the appropriate simulator.
Selecting the appropriate simulator.

Next I executed the project. Since I’d had my phone attached it wanted to run it there, but I have 7.1 iOS on it which won’t execute Swift code. I had to select the appropriate simulator then to run the application project. Once that ran, since I’d not done so on this particular computer, I needed to enable developer mode.

Enabling developer mode.
Enabling developer mode.

I did so and the empty application launched.

An empty iOS 8 iPad Retina Application.
An empty iOS 8 iPad Retina Application.

So that’s the basic getting started, no code actually slung. But rest assured I’ll have another post soon detailing some first code snippets. I also hope to get some comparisons written up between XCode with Swift and Xamarin Studio and C#. It’s cool that Apple finally has a modern feature rich language, so it’ll be interesting to see how each stacks up from a language and IDE perspective.