The decision to adopt a graph database into one’s tech stack can be beneficial in many cases, but it also has its costs. A developer must learn all the aspects of working with Neo4j, an entirely different mindset than relational databases. However, when done correctly, this change can simplify both development and data management tasks.

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To become an expert Neo4j user, we created a list of 5 tips to get the most out of Neo4j. You may also consider working with experts specializing in Neo4j consulting for training and adoption.

Make Your Life Easier with Drivers

Suppose you already developed applications on top of relational databases such as MySQL or PostgreSQL. In that case, you will be happy to know that Neo4j offers official drivers for almost all popular programming languages.

The best way to work with a graph is through a driver – they make it easy to interact with the database and provide an abstraction layer between your application and the server. Here are some of the most popular Neo4j drivers:

Neo4j Bolt Driver for Java

This is the official Java API to work with Neo4j. The model is very similar to working with relational databases, making it easy to understand if you have worked with them before. The API allows you to connect through a connection pool or a direct connection.

Neo4j-ogm Driver for Objective-C

This is the official Objective-C API to work with Neo4j. It’s an OGM wrapper on top of the Bolt driver, so it behaves in a very similar way to it anyway.

Neo4j REST Client for Node.js

This is the official Node.js API to work with Neo4j through REST calls. It’s not thread-safe, so it’s recommended for only one connection at a time.

Neo4j Bolt Driver for Python

This is the official Python API to work with Neo4j. The model is very similar to working with relational databases, making it easy to understand if you have worked with them before.

Neo4j OGM Driver for Ruby

This is the official Ruby API to work with Neo4j through OGM wrappers. There are two variations available: ruby-ogm and a ruby-neo4j gem which you may use interchangeably.

When using a language with no official driver, the community is always ready to help. Your Neo4j consulting specialists can help you navigate the situation. There are some other drivers for Java (JDBC, Spring Data Neo4j), Python (Py2neo), Node.js (Neo4j-rest), and others. Check them out to see if one of them might work for your project.

Performance is in the Roots

One of the most important aspects of working with Neo4j is defining what you need to model in the database. It’s recommended to start by thinking about how you want to query it to design your data accordingly. This way, you will end up with a performance boost since the database is tailored to your queries.

Everything in Neo4j starts from an index (or “indexed node”) – this means that most of the time, it’s recommended to be as descriptive as possible when defining nodes. Because the relationships are stored directly on them, more information is usually better.

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