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Use Neo4j Bloom with Aura Database

Goals
We will learn how to connect Neo4j Bloom with a Neo4j cloud Aura instance.
Prerequisites
  1. We should have created and started a Neo4j Aura database instance. If we have not already, we can follow the instructions in the getting started guide to step through the process.
  2. We should also have downloaded and installed the Neo4j Desktop application. If you have not already, you can download it and follow the installation instructions that appear once you click to download.
Beginner

Connect to Aura from Neo4j Desktop

Before we launch and use Neo4j Bloom with Aura, we first need to use Neo4j Desktop to connect to our Aura instance, and then to activate the Neo4j Bloom graph app. This will allow us to interact with both Aura and Bloom from Neo4j Desktop.

To do this, we can follow the steps outlined in the Aura Desktop guide for connecting to a remote instance. Now we are ready to install the Neo4j Bloom graph app.

For a step-by-step walkthrough of Bloom functionality with screenshots, visit the Bloom guide. Throughout this guide, we will also link to relevant sections of that guide for more detailed information on how to execute the steps, if needed.

Activate Bloom in Neo4j Desktop

Currently, Bloom requires an activation key in order to grant access. We can request an activation key from Neo4j with a form. Once that is granted, we will need to add that access to Neo4j Desktop.

Along the left icon column in Neo4j Desktop, there will be an Activation Keys option near the bottom.

Click on that icon, and we should see the list of activations we have. Beneath that list is a link to add activation keys.

Click on that, paste or drop the activation key into the input box, and click Add.

Now we should see the Neo4j Bloom key appear in the list.

Lastly, we need to add the Neo4j Bloom application to our project in Desktop. We add it to our project by choosing the project we want to work within (the one that contains the connection to our remote Aura database). Then, at the top of the proejct, we should see a menu of applications. At the end of the menu is a grey box with Add Application.

We can click on that and choose the Neo4j Bloom app by clicking Add. Close the menu by either clicking the Ok button at the bottom right or the x button in the upper right.

We will also want some data to look at with Neo4j Bloom. Let’s load a small movie example for our last step.

Load the Movie Graph

If you have worked with Neo4j previously, you may already be familiar with the movie graph used in other tutorials and examples. This graph is a small data set of movie and person entities and the relationships between them for people who acted in or directed the films.

Neo4j has already set up a script and guide to help users import this data into Neo4j. To access it, we can open a Neo4j Browser window using one of the following three ways:

  1. In the Neo4j Aura console (console.neo4j.io), choose the blue button at the right of the instance for → Open Neo4j Browser.
  1. In Neo4j Desktop, choose the Open Browser button at the bottom of the instance.
  1. In a web browser, type in the url for https://<yourDatabaseId>.databases.neo4j.io/browser/. We will need to authenticate before we can access the database.

Once we have Neo4j Browser open, we can click in the command line input at the top, type in :play movie-graph, then click the play button to the right of the input.

A slideshow will appear beneath the command line, and we can use the next button to see the next page of the Browser guide.

Click on the Cypher statement (in grey dotted lines on the right). This will copy it to the command line above, and then we can click the play button again to run that statement. It will return a piece of the graph and display it in another result pane that appears below the command line.

Colors for your results may differ slightly, as each session can choose different color combinations.

Explore the data with Neo4j Bloom

Let’s explore the movie data with Neo4j Bloom!

First, we launch our Bloom application by clicking on the application at the top of our project in Neo4j Desktop.

It will ask us to choose a perspective, which we will allow Bloom to do for us by clicking on the Generate perspective based on my data button. This will create a new perspective that we will then choose.

To view some data, we can type in Movie Person in the search bar and click on the first suggestion that appears underneath it.

That will show us all the Movie nodes who have Person nodes connected to them.

We can zoom in (using the + and - icons in the lower right) to view more details about all of the nodes, and we can move about the graph by clicking in an empty space in the scene and dragging it around.

This is quite a bit more data than we probably want to start with, so let us query something with a bit narrower scope. We can clear the scene by right-mouse clicking on an empty space in the scene and choosing the Clear scene option in the menu.

Next, we can write a query to look for a specific movie and the people who are connected to it. To do this, type The Polar Express Person into the search bar and click on the first suggestion that appears beneath it.

This will display the results of the query in the scene and allow us to explore a bit more.

We can see that there are two people connected to this movie in our dataset – Tom Hanks and Robert Zemeckis. We can find out if these two Person nodes have any other connections by expanding those nodes. For this, click on one of the persons where a white border appears around the node. Then right-mouse click and choose the Expand option from the menu.

Once complete for both Robert Zemeckis and Tom Hanks, we can see that both people were also involved in the Cast Away movie. Both times, Robert directed the movies and Tom Hanks acted in them (relationship types ACTED_IN and DIRECTED).

To learn about more of Neo4j Bloom’s capabilities, visit the Bloom guide or the Bloom documentation.

Help and Questions

Helpful guides and support are available on the Aura support pages.

You can also ask questions and connect with other people launching Neo4j Aura at the cloud topic on the Community Site.

If you have questions or problems with Bloom, you can post in the dedicated Bloom topic on the Community Site.

Resources