Andy Hogg briefly explains what graph databases are and why they are so prominent today




Enter the graph database
Graph databases are built on the branch of mathematics known as graph theory, the foundations for which were laid in the 18th century by the mathematician Leonhard Euler. When Euler conclusively proved the infamous Seven Bridges of Königsberg problem was unsolvable, graph theory was born.

Graph data is comprised of vertices and edges – to us mortals, that translates to “things” and “relationships between things”.

Unsurprisingly the “things” can be assigned properties – year of manufacture, shoe size, cubic capacity.

Crucially though, the relationships can also be assigned properties in exactly the same way, making them every bit as queryable as the things they connect.

In a graph database, relationships are not relegated to clumsy junction tables. They are first-class citizens of the database.

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