Using Neo4j with Popular Programming Languages like Python and Java

Are you fascinated by the power of graphs and want to incorporate it into your programming projects? Have you heard of Neo4j and its capabilities in handling massive amounts of data in the form of graphs? If not, then you are in for a treat! Neo4j is a graph database management system that allows you to model, store, and query graph-based data efficiently. In this article, we will explore how you can use Neo4j with two of the most popular programming languages - Python and Java.

Neo4j and Graph-based Data

Before we dive into the details of using Neo4j with Python and Java, let's first understand what Neo4j is and how it handles graph-based data.

A graph database is a database management system that stores data in the form of nodes and relationships. Nodes represent entities or objects with attributes, while relationships specify how two nodes are related. Graph databases are useful when dealing with complex, interconnected data where relationships are as important as the data itself. With a graph database, you can navigate through data easily and perform complex queries without worrying about complex data models and joins.

Neo4j is a popular graph database management system that supports the Cypher query language, which is specifically designed for working with graph-based data. Neo4j is ACID-compliant, highly scalable, and can handle complex queries easily. It is used by many organizations worldwide, including eBay, Walmart, and NASA.

Integrating Neo4j with Python

Py2neo is a Python library that enables you to work with Neo4j databases in Python. Py2neo provides a simple and intuitive interface for working with Neo4j, allowing you to create and manipulate nodes and relationships, execute and manage Cypher queries, and interact with an embedded web interface.

To use Py2neo, you need to install it using pip - a package manager for Python. You will also need to have a locally running Neo4j server or access to a Neo4j database that you can connect to.

First, let's install Py2neo by typing pip install py2neo in the terminal. Once Py2neo is installed, we can create a connection to our Neo4j database using Graph class as follows:

from py2neo import Graph
graph = Graph(password='your_password')

By default, Py2neo connects to a Neo4j instance running on localhost on port 7687. Here, we create a Graph object with the password required to connect to the database.

Now that we have connected to our Neo4j database, we can create, update, and query nodes and relationships using Py2neo.

Creating and Updating Nodes

To create a node in Py2neo, we use the Node class from the module. Node objects take a label argument that specifies the type of node being created and a set of properties that describe the node.

For example, let's create a Person node with a name and age property and add it to our database:

from py2neo import Node
person = Node('Person', name='John', age=30)

Here, we create a Person node with a name of John and an age of 30. We then use the graph.create() method to add this node to our Neo4j database.

To update an existing node, we can use the graph.push() method on our node object, passing it the updated property values as follows:

person['age'] = 31

Here, we update the age property of our Person node by setting its value to 31 and calling graph.push().

Creating and Updating Relationships

To create a relationship between nodes, we use the Relationship class from the module. Relationship objects take three arguments - the first node, the relationship type, and the second node.

For example, let's create a KNOWS relationship between our Person node and another Person node named Sarah:

from py2neo import Relationship
sarah = Node('Person', name='Sarah', age=27)
graph.create(Relationship(person, 'KNOWS', sarah))

Here, we create a new Person node representing Sarah and use the Relationship class to create a KNOWS relationship between our Person node and Sarah.

To update a relationship between two nodes, we can use the graph.push() method on the Relationship object, passing it the updated properties as follows:

rel = graph.match_one(start_node=person, rel_type='KNOWS', end_node=sarah)
rel['since'] = 'May 2019'

Here, we get the existing KNOWS relationship between our Person node and Sarah using the graph.match_one() method. We then update the since property of the relationship by setting its value to May 2019 and call graph.push() to save the changes.

Querying Nodes and Relationships

To query our Neo4j database, we use the Cypher query language, and Py2neo provides a method to execute these queries.

Let's say we want to find all Person nodes in our database and retrieve their name and age properties:

query = 'MATCH (p:Person) RETURN, p.age'
result =
for record in result:
    print(record[''], record['p.age'])

Here, we define our Cypher query as a string and pass it to We then loop over the query results and print the name and age of each Person node.

Integrating Neo4j with Java

Neo4j provides a Java driver that enables you to interact with a Neo4j database in your Java applications. The driver supports Neo4j's Bolt protocol, which is designed for high-performance graph queries and transactions.

To use the Neo4j driver in your Java project, you need to add the driver dependency to your project's build file, such as Gradle or Maven.

Here's the Gradle configuration for adding the driver as a dependency:

dependencies {
  implementation 'org.neo4j.driver:neo4j-java-driver:4.3.0'

Add the above code to your build.gradle file to include the latest version of the Neo4j driver.

Once you have added the driver dependency to your project, you can start using the driver to connect to your Neo4j database.

Connecting to the Neo4j Database

To connect to the Neo4j database using the driver, create a Driver object using the GraphDatabase.driver() method as follows:

import org.neo4j.driver.*;
import static org.neo4j.driver.Values.parameters;

Driver driver = GraphDatabase.driver("bolt://localhost:7687", AuthTokens.basic("neo4j", "password"));

Here, we create a Driver object that connects to our Neo4j database running on localhost on port 7687, with a username of neo4j and a password of password.

Executing Cypher Queries

To execute a Cypher query using the Neo4j driver, create a Session object using the Driver.session() method and use the method to execute the query:

try (Session session = driver.session()) {
    String cypherQuery = "MATCH (p:Person) RETURN, p.age";
    Result result =;
    while (result.hasNext()) {
        Record record =;
        System.out.println(record.get("").asString() + " " + record.get("p.age").asInt());

Here, we create a Session object to execute the query and retrieve its results. We then use the Result.hasNext() and methods to iterate over the results and retrieve the name and age properties of each Person node.

Creating and Updating Nodes and Relationships

To create or update nodes or relationships using the Neo4j driver, use the method to execute Cypher queries that create or update the desired nodes or relationships.

Here's an example of creating a Person node and a KNOWS relationship using Cypher:

String createPersonQuery = "CREATE (p:Person {name: $name, age: $age})";
String createKnowsQuery = "MATCH (p1:Person), (p2:Person) WHERE = $name1 AND = $name2 CREATE (p1)-[:KNOWS {since: $since}]->(p2)";

try (Session session = driver.session()) {, parameters("name", "John", "age", 30)), parameters("name", "Sarah", "age", 27)), parameters("name1", "John", "name2", "Sarah", "since", "May 2019"))

Here, we define two Cypher queries to create a Person node for John, a Person node for Sarah, and a KNOWS relationship between them. We then use to execute each query with the necessary parameters.

To update nodes or relationships, use the method to execute Cypher queries that update the desired nodes or relationships, as follows:

String updatePersonQuery = "MATCH (p:Person {name: $name}) SET p.age = $age";
String updateKnowsQuery = "MATCH (p1:Person)-[k:KNOWS]->(p2:Person) WHERE = $name1 AND = $name2 SET k.since = $since";

try (Session session = driver.session()) {, parameters("name", "John", "age", 31)), parameters("name1", "John", "name2", "Sarah", "since", "June 2021"))

Notice how we use the MATCH clause in the Cypher query to find the node or relationship that we want to update, and then use the SET clause to update its properties.


In this article, we explored how you can use the Neo4j graph database management system with the popular programming languages, Python and Java. We learned how to connect to Neo4j using Py2neo and the Neo4j Java driver, create and update nodes and relationships, and execute Cypher queries. If you want to add the power of graphs to your applications, Neo4j is a great choice to get started with!

Editor Recommended Sites

AI and Tech News
Best Online AI Courses
Classic Writing Analysis
Tears of the Kingdom Roleplay
Coin Payments App - Best Crypto Payment Merchants & Best Storefront Crypto APIs: Interface with crypto merchants to accept crypto on your sites
Deep Dive Video: Deep dive courses for LLMs, machine learning and software engineering
Site Reliability SRE: Guide to SRE: Tutorials, training, masterclass
Emerging Tech: Emerging Technology - large Language models, Latent diffusion, AI neural networks, graph neural networks, LLM reasoning systems, ontology management for LLMs, Enterprise healthcare Fine tuning for LLMs
Crypto Ratings - Top rated alt coins by type, industry and quality of team: Discovery which alt coins are scams and how to tell the difference