Field Notes

Four for Neo4J

January 12, 2016 | In Talk Roundup

Graph Database Boston Meetup - December 2015 Lightning Talks

December's topic was Neo4J, inspired by a visit from Ryan Boyd of Neo Technology. Boyd gave an intro to Neo4J for the first half of the meetup. The second half was lightning talks. Luke Samaha described how SPS Commerce uses Neo4j to find similarities between customers. Matt Harris match skillsets to jobs at Patheer. Sean Kruzel of Astrocyte Research models economic data "more like an economist thinks".

Boyd concluded with new features of Neo4j 2.3 ( see summary and a recorded version).
Sketchnotes: 1 2

Ian Robinson - Tips and Tricks for Data Modeling

⭐ Recommended ⭐

Like most Neo4j talks, this begins with an introduction to Neo4j. If that's familiar, skip ahead to the 13:00 minute mark when it moves into deeper waters.

Robinson shows how to do four things I've never seen discussed elsewhere:

  • criteria for deciding whether to model attributes with a relationship versus a property
  • using intermediate nodes to connect 3+ nodes to capture complex relationships or add more qualifying information
  • versioning graphs to show relationships over time
  • migrating data when you refactor a graph

At an hour and a quarter, this is a long talk, but well-paced and at a useful level of detail. Worth watching when your model has outgrown the happy path of the canonical movie tutorial.

Mark Needham and Michael Hunger - Importing Data Quickly and Easily


It's always good to see a real-world data import example. Needham and Hunger import Stack Overflow's content to Neo4j. Stack Overflow contains 10 million questions and 16 million answers, a big step up from the movie tutorial.

First they define the data model, which dictates the shape of the import files. Next they use jq to convert the data dump from JSON to CSV. They explain how to use Neo4j's CSV loader and bulk loader and how to choose between them. For the finale, Needham and Hunger import Stack Overflow's content in under four minutes.

The talk covers practical tips for munging and importing more efficiently. Watch it to see what a Neo4j pipeline looks like.

Nicole White - How to build a Python web application with Flask and Neo4j

PyCon SE 2015
slides blog

Nicole White does a fast "hello world level intro" of the Flask tutorial. The PyCon talk is focused only on how to use Neo4j for the database related steps. Watch it for a quick demo of using py2neo and Cypher queries in Flask.

O'Reilly's Building Web Apps using Flask and Neo4j video by White is an extended and more thorough version of the talk that teaches Flask as well.