Quick-start Developer's guide

Here we will introduce how to setup Apollo on your server. In general, there are two modes of deploying Apollo.

There is "development mode" where the application is launched in a temporary server (automatically) and there is "production mode", which will typically require an external separate database and tomcat server where you can deploy the generated war file.

This guide will cover the "development mode" scenario which should be easy to start. To setup in a production environment, please see the setup guide.


Installing grails is made easier by using SDKMAN (formerly GVM) which can automatically setup grails for you. We will use grails 2.4.5 for Apollo.

  1. curl -s http://get.sdkman.io | bash
  2. sdk install grails 2.4.5


It is not required but you can also install the groovy command line

sdk install groovy

Get the code

To setup Apollo, you can download the code from github:

  • git clone https://github.com/GMOD/Apollo.git Apollo
  • cd Apollo

Alternatively, download a .tar.gz file or .zip file from the releases page: https://github.com/GMOD/Apollo/releases.

There won't be any difference in the workflow either way that you choose to get the code.

Verify install requirements

We can now perform a quick-start of the application in "development mode" with this command:

./apollo run-local

The jbrowse and perl pre-requisites will be installed during this step, and if there is a success, then a temporary server will be automatically launched at http://localhost:8080/apollo.

Note: You can also supply a port number e.g. apollo run-local 8085 if there are conflicts on port 8080.

Also note: if there are any errors at this step, check the setup.log file for errors. You can refer to the troubleshooting guide and often it just means the pre-requisites or perl modules failed.

Also also note: the "development mode" uses an in-memory H2 database for storing data by default. The setup guide will show you how to configure custom database settings.

Setting up the application

Setup a production server

To setup in a production environment, please see the setup guide. To setup (as opposed to a development server as above), you must properly configure a servlet container like Tomcat or Jetty with sufficient memory.

Adding data to Apollo

After we have a server setup, we will want to add a new organism to the panel. If you are a new user, you will want to setup this data with the jbrowse pre-processing scripts. You can see the data loading guide for more details, but essentially, you will want to load a reference genome and an annotations file at a minimum:

bin/prepare-refseqs.pl --fasta yourgenome.fasta --out /opt/apollo/data

bin/flatfile-to-json.pl --gff yourannotations.gff --type mRNA \
        --trackLabel AnnotationsGff --out /opt/apollo/data

Login to the web interface

After you access your application at http://localhost:8080/apollo/ then you will be prompted for login information

Login first time

Figure 1. "Register First Admin User" screen allows you to create a new admin user.

Organism configuration

Figure 2. Navigate to the "Organism tab" and select "Create new organism". Then enter the new information for your organism. Importantly, the data directory refers to a directory that has been prepared with the JBrowse data loading scripts from the command line. See the data loading section for details.

Open annotator

Figure 3. Open up the new organism from the drop down tab on the annotator panel.


If you completed this setup, you can then begin adding new users and performing annotations. Please continue to the setup guide for deploying the webapp to production or visit the troubleshooting guide if you encounter problems during setup.