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From Mike Malone <>
Subject Re: Is SuperColumn necessary?
Date Wed, 28 Apr 2010 17:25:39 GMT
On Wed, Apr 28, 2010 at 5:24 AM, David Boxenhorn <> wrote:

> If I understand correctly, the distinction between supercolumns and
> subcolumns is critical to good database design if you want to use random
> partitioning: you can do range queries on subcolumns but not on
> supercolumns.
> Is this correct?

You can do efficient range queries of normal (not super) columns in a
ColumnFamily. I think SuperColumn's are not indexed, so it's less efficient
to do a slice of subcolumns from a column, if there are lots of subcolumns.

I agree that SuperColumns are technically unnecessary. There aren't any use
cases I can come up with that a SuperColumn satisfies that normal Columns
can't. You can simulate SuperColumn behavior by concatenating key parts with
a separator and using the concatenated key as your column name, then doing a
slice. So if you had a SuperColumn that stored usernames, and sub-columns
that stored document IDs, you could instead have a normal CF that stores

The only thing SuperColumns appear to buy you (as someone pointed out to me
at the Cassandra meetup - I think it was Eric Florenzano) is that you can
use different comparator types for the Super/SubColumns, I guess..? But you
should be able to do the same thing by creating your own Column comparator.
I guess my point is that SuperColumns are mostly a convenience mechanism, as
far as I can tell.


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