Query Examples

In the rest of the documentation for this site we try to lay out all of the pieces of the Neo4j.rb gems to explain them one at a time. Sometimes, though, it can be instructive to see examples. The following are examples of code where somebody had a question and the resulting code after fixes / refactoring. This section will expand over time as new examples are found.

Example 1: Find all contacts for a user two hops away, but don’t include contacts which are only one hop away

user.contacts(:contact, :knows, rel_length: 2).where_not(
  uuid: user.contacts.pluck(:uuid)

This works, though it makes two queries. The first to get the uuid s for the where_not and the second for the full query. For the first query, user.contacts.pluck(:id) could be also used instead, though associations already have a pre-defined method to get IDs, so this could instead be user.contact_ids.

This doesn’t take care of the problem of having two queries, though. If we keep the rel_length: 2, however, we won’t be able to reference the nodes which are one hop away in order. This seems like it would be a straightforward solution:

user.contacts(:contact1).contacts(:contact2).where_not('contact1 = contact2')

And it is straightforward, but it won’t work. Because Cypher matches one subgraph at a time (in this case roughly (:User)--(contact1:User)--(contact2:User)), contact one is always just going to be the node which is in between the user in question and contact2. It doesn’t represent “all users which are one step away”. So if we want to do this as one query, we do need to first get all of the first-level nodes together so that we can then check if the second level nodes are in that list. This can be done as:

  .query_as(:contact).with(:user, first_level_ids: 'collect(ID(contact))')
  .proxy_as(User, :user)
  .contacts(:other_contact, nil, rel_length: 2)
  .where_not('ID(other_contact) IN first_level_ids')

And there we have a query which is much more verbose than the original code, but accomplishes the goal in a single query. Having two queries isn’t neccessarily bad, so the code’s complexity should be weighed against how both versions perform on real datasets.

Example 2: Simple Recommendation Engine

If you are interested in more complex collaborative filter methods check out this article.

Let’s assume you have the following schema:


We want to recommend pages for a user to follow based on their current followed pages.


  • We want to include the source of the recommendation. i.e (we recommend you follow X because you follow Y).

    Note : To do this part, we are going to use an APOC function apoc.coll.sortMaps.

  • We want to exclude pages the user has skipped or already follows.

  • The recommended pages must have a name field.

Given our schema, we could write the following Cypher to accomplish this:

MATCH (user:User { id: "1" })
MATCH (user)-[:FOLLOW]->(followed_page:Page)<-[:FOLLOW]-(co_user:User)
MATCH (co_user)-[:FOLLOW]->(rec_page:Page)
WHERE exists(rec_page.name)
AND NOT (user)-[:FOLLOW|:SKIP]->(rec_page)
WITH rec_page, count(rec_page) AS score, collect(followed_page.name) AS source_names
ORDER BY score DESC LIMIT {limit}
UNWIND source_names AS source_name
WITH rec_page, score, source_name, count(source_name) AS contrib
WITH rec_page, score, apoc.coll.sortMaps(collect({name:source_name, contrib:contrib*-1}), 'contrib') AS sources
RETURN rec_page.name AS name, score, extract(source IN sources[0..3] | source.name) AS top_sources,
  size(sources) AS sources_count

Now let’s see how we could write this using ActiveNode syntax in a User Ruby class.

class User
  include Neo4j::ActiveNode

  property :id, type: Integer

  has_many :out, :followed_pages, type: :FOLLOW, model_class: :Page
  has_many :out, :skipped_pages, type: :SKIP, model_class: :Page

  def recommended_pages
      .query_as(:rec_page) # Transition into Core Query
      .with("rec_page, count(rec_page) AS score, collect(followed_page.name) AS source_names")
        .order_by('score DESC').limit(25)
      .unwind(source_name: :source_names) # This generates "UNWIND source_names AS source_name"
      .with("rec_page, score, source_name, count(source_name) AS contrib")
      .with("rec_page, score, apoc.coll.sortMaps(collect({name:source_name,contrib:contrib*-1}), 'contrib') AS sources")
      .with("rec_page.name AS name, score, extract(source in sources[0..3] | source.name) AS top_sources, size(sources) AS sources_count")
        .order_by('score DESC')
      .pluck(:name, :score, :top_sources, :sources_count)

Note : The contrib*-1 value is a way of getting the desired order out of the sortMaps APOC function without needing to reverse the resulting list.

This assumes we have a Page class like the following:

class Page
  include Neo4j::ActiveNode

  property name, type: String

  has_many :in, :followers, type: :FOLLOW, model_class: :User
  has_many :in, :skippers, type: :SKIP, model_class: :User