Fred Verheul talks about his trip to a general developer conference with Neo4j


Introduction
Last month I attended GO TO Amsterdam, hashtag #gotoams, a general (not SAP-specific) developer conference here in the Netherlands. I’m still amazed at the great talks I’ve been listening to, and the things I’ve learned, not to mention the ‘homework’: reading through the presentations and following up on the interesting links that many of them contain.
I’d like to share my experiences outside SAP-land with the community here on scn and encourage others to also think more out-of-the-SAP-box. I know I’m not the first to mention it, but I still think it’s a valid and important message, and since I now have first-hand experience I’ll repeat it anyway :).

Getting started with Graph Databases
I had some reservations about this talk, as it was contained in a track called ‘Cool companies’ (oh no, no marketing please!), but this turned out to be a perfect introduction to Graph Databases, by Rik van Bruggen of Neo Technology, the leading graph database provider (with their product Neo4j).
Conceptually the case for graph databases (often mentioned as a NoSQL variant, which, according to Rik, is a contraction of Not Only SQL ) is not one of volume but of complexity: graph databases arguably allow for a richer data model and more expressing power. Rik demonstrated how in graph databases certain semi-structured, connected data can be modeled more naturally than in a normal relational database, and illustrated this with a demo featuring Belgium beers, one of his other passions. In the SAP world, a common setup would be to install a graph database next to your ERP instance (HANA anyone?), load data from your ERP-system to this database, and then query it. Kind of an ETL-like process, but you wouldn’t create cubes or anything but use the Cypher graph query language to extract meaningful information out of it. If you want to learn more about graph databases, there is a book being written which you can (at the time of writing this blog) download for free.
A short version of this talk seems to be on Youtube, as he’s also spoken about this at Monki Gras 2013. Thanks Tom Raftery!

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