Nigel talks about the full release of Neo4j, how the old version worked, and how the new 2.0 works with all its new features


The full release of Neo4j 2.0 will be something of a landmark for graph database fanatics. That’s not to say that other releases have not been significant, but this particular version is daring to break with its past and offer a smarter approach to database interaction.

As Neophiles will know, Cypher is Neo4j’s home grown data query and modification language and Cypher queries are based around matching paths within the graph. Traditionally, the paths supplied must be anchored to one or more explicitly selected START nodes, but with version 2.0, this is no longer necessary. This has been made possible through the introduction of labels and schema indexes, which provide a way to tag and identify specific nodes outside of legacy indexes and the internal ID mechanism.

The Old Way: Category Nodes
To illustrate the new approach, let’s first look at the old way of doing things with an example graph:

Here, Alice has two friends, Bob and Carmen, and speaks both Italian and English. This graph also makes use of the commonly used IS_A relationship to classify the objects in the system against a category node.

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