The activegraph gem supports both Ruby and JRuby and can be used with many different frameworks and services.

Below are some instructions on how to get started:

Ruby on Rails

The following contains instructions on how to setup ActiveGraph with Rails. If you prefer a video to follow along you can use this YouTube video

There are two ways to add neo4j to your Rails project. You can generate a new project with ActiveGraph as the default model mapper or you can add it manually.

Generating a new app

To create a new Rails app with Neo4j as the default model mapper use -m to run a script from the Neo4j project and -O to exclude ActiveRecord like so:

rails new myapp -O -m

An example series of setup commands:

rails new myapp -O -m
cd myapp
rake neo4j:install[community-4.0.6]
db/neo4j/development/bin/neo4j-admin set-initial-password password
rake neo4j:start
rails generate scaffold User name:string email:string
rake neo4j:migrate
rails s
open http://localhost:3000/users

See also

There is also a screencast available demonstrating how to set up a new Rails app:

Adding the gem to an existing project

Include in your Gemfile:

# for rubygems
gem 'activegraph', '>= 10.0.0' # For example, see for the latest versions
gem 'neo4j-ruby-driver'

In application.rb:

require 'active_graph/railtie'


ActiveGraph does not interfere with ActiveRecord and both can be used in the same application

If you want the rails generate command to generate ActiveGraph models by default you can modify application.rb like so:

class Application < Rails::Application
  # ...

  config.generators { |g| g.orm :active_graph }

Rails configuration

For both new apps and existing apps there are multiple ways to configure how to connect to neo4j. You can use environment variables, the config/neo4j.yml file, or configure via the Rails application config.

For environment variables:


For the config/neo4j.yml file:

  url: neo4j://localhost:7687

  url: neo4j://localhost:7688

    - neo4j://core1:7687
    - neo4j://core2:7687
    - neo4j://core3:7687
  username: neo4j
  password: password

The railtie provided by the neo4j gem will automatically look for and load this file.

You can also use your Rails configuration. The following example can be put into config/application.rb or any of your environment configurations (config/environments/(development|test|production).rb) file:

config.neo4j.driver.url = 'bolt://localhost:7687'

Neo4j requires authentication by default but if you install using the built-in rake tasks) authentication is disabled. If you are using authentication you can configure it like this:

config.neo4j.driver.url = 'neo4j://localhost:7687'
config.neo4j.driver.username = 'neo4j'
config.neo4j.driver.username = 'password'

Any Ruby Project

Include activegrah and either neo4j-ruby-driver or neo4j-java-driver in your Gemfile:

gem 'activegraph', '>= 10.0.0' # For example, see for the latest versions
gem 'neo4j-ruby-driver' # For example, see for the latest versions
# Both are optional

# To provide tasks to install/start/stop/configure Neo4j
require 'active_graph/rake_tasks'
# Comes from the `neo4j-rake_tasks` gem

If you don’t already have a server you can install one with the rake tasks from neo4j_server.rake. See the (rake tasks documentation) for details on how to install, configure, and start/stop a Neo4j server in your project directory.

Driver Instance

To start interacting with neo4j a driver instance is required:

In Ruby

When the railtie is included, this happens automatically.

Using the acivegraph gem (Node and Relationship) without Rails

To define your own driver for the activegraph gem you create a driver object and establish it as the default driver with the Base module (this is done automatically in Rails):

ActiveGraph::Base.driver = Neo4j::Driver::GraphDatabase.driver('neo4j::/localhost:7687', Neo4j::Driver.AuthTokens.basic('user','pass'), encryption: false)

Driver instances are thread-safe. Session and transactions can be created explicitly to guarantee reading your own writes and atomic operations with the following methods:


In the absense of those method calls activegraph automatically creates a session and write transaction and associates them with the thread.

What if I’m integrating with a pre-existing Neo4j database?

When trying to get the activegraph gem to integrate with a pre-existing Neo4j database instance (common in cases of migrating data from a legacy SQL database into a Neo4j-powered rails app), remember that every Node model is required to have an ID property with a unique constraint upon it, and that unique ID property will default to uuid unless you override it to use a different ID property.

This commonly leads to getting a ActiveGraph::DeprecatedSchemaDefinitionError in Rails when attempting to access a node populated into a Neo4j database directly via Cypher (i.e. when Rails didn’t create the node itself). To solve or avoid this problem, be certain to define and constrain as unique a uuid property (or whatever other property you want Rails to treat as the unique ID property) in Cypher when loading the legacy data or use the methods discussed in Unique IDs.


Add a Neo4j db to your application:

# To use GrapheneDB:
heroku addons:create graphenedb

# To use Graph Story:
heroku addons:create graphstory