Thursday, 5 July 2018

Podcast Interview with Matt Casters, Neo4j & Kettle

A couple of years ago, I got to know another Belgian data aficionado that was doing quite a bit of work in the open source community, called Bart Maertens. For a while, we actually met at Antwerp Airport when we were both "commuting" to London City Airport for business - and we got a conversation going. Bart was organising a Pentaho Community Meeting in Antwerp, less than 500m from my home, and invited me to come along and talk a bit about my favourite subjects: beer and graphs :) ... 
So one thing lead to another, and Bart started to do some interesting work integrating his data integration tools with Neo4j. He wrote the code, and blogged about it in some detail

Fast forward to early 2018. Neo4j is more and more in the Enterprise market, with very large organisations seeing the value of graph databases and the platform around it. But most of these environments are NOT greenfield environments - they almost always require some kind of data integration work to make the tools work effectively. So it became very natural for us to start look for architects and experts that could help us... and that's effectively what brought my next Podcast guest to the Graph: Matt Casters has worked together with many other Neo4j people in a previous life, and is now the Chief Solutions Architect in our professional services organisation. 

Here's my chat with Matt:

Friday, 22 June 2018

Podcast Interview with Estelle Joubert, Dalhousie University

One of the coolest things about Neo4j is just the sheer breadth and diversity of applications that we see for connected data and graph databases out there. I think I have said it before, but it truly continues to baffle me. Very frequently, I will have a morning conversation with a user about battling financial fraud, a lunch conversation about using graphs in biotech to fight world hunger, and an afternoon conversation about real time recommender systems in retail. And of course finish it of with a beergraph conversation in the evening :) ...

Really - it's just amazing. And the next podcast episode is a true testimony to that. I got to have a chat with a lovely lady all the way over in Canada recently, Estelle Joubert from Dalhousie University. She and her team have been using Neo4j in her amazing field of research, which is all about understanding how music and opera came to be what they are today in a historical perspective. She is best at explaining it herself - so here's our chat:

Here's the transcript of our conversation:
RVB:  00:01:20.209 Hello, everyone. My name is Rik, Rik Van Bruggen from Neo4J, and tonight I am joined by a guest on our podcast all the way from Canada, someone that has been working with, and experimenting with, Neo4j for quite some time in a very interesting domain that I hadn't heard of before. And that's Estelle Joubert from Dalhousie University. Hi, Estelle.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Exploring new datatypes in Neo4j 3.4 and the Open Beer Database - part 2/2

In the previous blogpost I imported the Open Beer Database into Neo4j and added some new fancy spatial data to it. Now in this post I would like to explore that data. As a reminder, you can find the full
Let's take a look.

First we will just look at the basic OpenBeerDB data. The schema is quite straightforward:

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Exploring new datatypes in Neo4j 3.4 and the Open Beer Database - part 1/2

Recently, I gave a talk at the Amsterdam, Brussels and London Neo4j meetups about some of the new and exciting features in Neo4j 3.4. While preparing for it, I was looking for material and I found some very cool stuff that powerfully explains the new features. The best resource is probably this post by Ryan Boyd, and the video that goes with it:

Ryan does a great job at explaining the new features, and goes into some detail on the new temporal and spatial data types that you can now use in Neo4j 3.4. You can explore these new features yourself by accessing the Neo4j Sandbox developed specifically for this purpose. Or you can just do what I did, and use the Neo4j Desktop to spin up a Neo4j instance, and access the "guide". You do that by typing
into the Neo4j browser, and then you can access the entire guide, add some data to your dataset, and play around.

Friday, 8 June 2018

Podcast interview with Jeffrey Miller, ICC

Here's a podcast episode that I have been wanting/needing to publish for a long time .Jeffrey A. Miller works as a Senior Consultant in Columbus, Ohio as a consultant in effective software development practices with lots of organisations. Jeffrey has delivered presentations at regional technical conferences and user groups on topics including Neo4j technology, knowledge management, and humanitarian healthcare projects - and that of course became a great setup for our conversation.

Also - I found this really interesting: Jeffrey and his wife, Brandy, are aspiring adoptive parents and have written a fun children’s book called “Skeeters” with proceeds supporting adoption. Learn more about the project at

Friday, 1 June 2018

Using Neo4j Bloom for fraud detection, discovery and visualization

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been discussing and showing Neo4j's new Bloom graph discovery and visualization product to everyone that would have a moment to spare. It's soooo much fun to show a tool you love, and Bloom is definitely one of those. And I have also recorded some odf these demo-sessions - you can find part 1part 2 and part 3 of these recordings on this blog. All of these recordings use my (in)famous Belgian Beergraph dataset - and that's all good fun...

But of course, exploring a beergraph is not really a "business-y" use case. So I decided I would record a Bloom demo using a realistic dataset that centers around using Neo4j for Fraud Detection purposes. You will find all of the important concepts of the Beergraph demos here as well:
  • navigating the graph using graph patterns
  • using nifty selection / deselection techniques to only show what you need in the graph
  • creating better visualizations with colours and icons
  • editing the graph straight from the Bloom interface
  • creating custom search phrases for business uses and giving them near-natural language graph search capabilities.
Here's the recording:

Friday, 25 May 2018

Graphs are blooming - again!

A few weeks ago, I wrote a two part blog post about Neo4j Bloom and how I was playing around with my BeerGraph and figuring out some cool features of the new Neo4j product. You can find these posts over here
It included a first little demo video,

that seems to have been liked by a bunch of people :) ... thanks for that.