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Spring Data Neo4j RX

Getting started

We provide a Spring Boot starter for SDN/RX. Please include the starter module via your dependency management and configure the bolt URL to use, for example org.neo4j.driver.uri=bolt://localhost:7687. The starter assumes that the server has disabled authentication. As the SDN/RX starter depends on the starter for the Java Driver, all things regarding configuration said there, apply here as well. For a reference of the available properties, use your IDEs autocompletion in the org.neo4j.driver namespace or look at the dedicated manual.

SDN/RX supports

  • The well known and understood imperative programming model (much like Spring Data JDBC or JPA)
  • Reactive programming based on Reactive Streams, including full support for reactive transactions.

Those are all included in the same binary. The reactive programming model requires a 4.0 Neo4j server on the database side and reactive Spring on the other hand. Have a look at the examples directory for all examples.

Prepare the database

For this example, we stay within the movie graph, as it comes for free with every Neo4j instance.

If you don’t have a running database but Docker installed, please run:

Start a local Neo4j instance inside Docker.
docker run --publish=7474:7474 --publish=7687:7687 -e 'NEO4J_AUTH=neo4j/secret' neo4j:{neo4j-version}

You know can access http://localhost:7474. The above command sets the password of the server to secret. Note the command ready to run in the prompt (:play movies). Execute it to fill your database with some test data.

Create a new Spring Boot project

The easiest way to setup a Spring Boot project is (which is integrated in the major IDEs as well, in case you don’t want to use the website).

Select the “Spring Web Starter” to get all the dependencies needed for creating a Spring based web application. The Spring Initializr will take care of creating a valid project structure for you, with all the files and settings in place for the selected build tool.

Don’t choose Spring Data Neo4j here, as it will get you the previous generation of Spring Data Neo4j including OGM and additional abstraction over the driver.

You might want to follow this link for a preconfigured setup.

Using Maven

You can issue a curl request against the Spring Initializer to create a basic Maven project:

Create a basic Maven project with the Spring Initializr
curl \
  -d dependencies=webflux,actuator \
  -d bootVersion={spring-boot-version} \
  -d baseDir=Neo4jSpringBootExample \
  -d name=Neo4j%20SpringBoot%20Example | tar -xzvf -

This will create a new folder Neo4jSpringBootExample. As this starter is not yet on the initializer, you will have to add the following dependency manually to your pom.xml:

Inclusion of the spring-data-neo4j-rx-spring-boot-starter in a Maven project

You would also add the dependency manually in case of an existing project.

Using Gradle

The idea is the same, just generate a Gradle project:

Create a basic Gradle project with the Spring Initializr
curl \
  -d dependencies=webflux,actuator \
  -d type=gradle-project \
  -d bootVersion={spring-boot-version} \
  -d baseDir=Neo4jSpringBootExampleGradle \
  -d name=Neo4j%20SpringBoot%20Example | tar -xzvf -

The dependency for Gradle looks like this and must be added to build.gradle:

Inclusion of the spring-data-neo4j-rx-spring-boot-starter in a Gradle project
dependencies {
    compile '{groupId}:{artifactIdStarter}:{spring-data-neo4j-rx-version}'

You would also add the dependency manually in case of an existing project.

Configure the project

Now open any of those projects in your favorite IDE. Find and configure your Neo4j credentials:


This is the bare minimum of what you need to connect to a Neo4j instance.

It is not necessary to add any programmatically configuration of the driver when you use this starter. SDN/RX repositories will be automatically enabled by this starter.

Create your domain

Our domain layer should accomplish two things:

  • Map your graph to objects
  • Provide access to those

Example Node-Entity

SDN/RX fully supports unmodifiable entities, for both Java and data classes in Kotlin. Therefor we will focus on immutable entities here, [movie-entity] shows a such an entity.

SDN/RX supports all data types the Neo4j Java Driver supports, see Map Neo4j types to native language types inside the chapter “The Cypher type system”. Future versions will support additional converters.
import static*;

import java.util.HashSet;
import java.util.Set;


@Node("Movie") // <.>
public class MovieEntity {

	@Id  // <.>
	private final String title;

	@Property("tagline")  // <.>
	private final String description;

	@Relationship(type = "ACTED_IN", direction = INCOMING) // <.>
	private Set<PersonEntity> actors = new HashSet<>();

	@Relationship(type = "DIRECTED", direction = INCOMING)
	private Set<PersonEntity> directors = new HashSet<>();

	public MovieEntity(String title, String description) { // <.>
		this.title = title;
		this.description = description;

	// Getters omitted for brevity

<.> @Node is used to mark this class as a managed entity. It also is used to configure the Neo4j label. The label defaults to the name of the class, if you’re just using plain @Node. <.> Each entity has to have an id. The movie class shown here uses the attribute title as a unique business key. If you don’t have such a unique key, you can use the combination of @Id and @GeneratedValue to configure SDN/RX to use Neo4j’s internal id. We also provide generators for UUIDs. <.> This shows @Property as a way to use a different name for the field than for the graph property. <.> This defines a relationship to a class of type PersonEntity and the relationship type ACTED_IN <.> This is the constructor to be used by your application code.

As a general remark: Immutable entities using internally generated ids are a bit contradictory, as SDN/RX needs a way to set the field with the value generated by the database.

If you don’t find a good business key or don’t want to use a generator for IDs, here’s the same entity using the internally generated id together with a businesses constructor and a so called wither-Method, that is used by SDN/RX:


public class MovieEntity {

	@Id @GeneratedValue
	private Long id;

	private final String title;

	private final String description;

	public MovieEntity(String title, String description) { // <.> = null;
		this.title = title;
		this.description = description;

	public MovieEntity withId(Long id) { // <.>
		if ( {
			return this;
		} else {
			MovieEntity newObject = new MovieEntity(this.title, this.description); = id;
			return newObject;

<.> This is the constructor to be used by your application code. It sets the id to null, as the field containing the internal id should never be manipulated. <.> This is a so-called wither for the id-attribute. It creates a new entity and sets the field accordingly, without modifying the original entity, thus making it immutable.

You can of course use SDN/RX with Kotlin and model your domain with Kotlin’s data classes. Project Lombok is an alternative if you want or need to stay purely within Java.

Declaring Spring Data repositories

You basically have two options here: You can work store agnostic with SDN/RX and make your domain specific extends one of


Choose imperative and reactive accordingly.

While technically not prohibited, it is not recommended to mix imperative and reactive database access in the same application. We won’t support you with scenarios like this.

The other option is to settle on a store specific implementation and gain all the methods we support out of the box. The advantage of this approach is also it’s biggest disadvantage: Once out, all those methods will be part of your API. Most of the time it’s harder to take something away, than to add stuff afterwards. Furthermore, using store specifics leaks your store into your domain. From a performance point of view, there is no penalty.

A repository fitting to any of the movie entities above looks like this:
import reactor.core.publisher.Mono;


public interface MovieRepository extends ReactiveNeo4jRepository<MovieEntity, String> {

	Mono<MovieEntity> findOneByTitle(String title);

This repository can be used in any Spring component like this:
import reactor.core.publisher.Flux;
import reactor.core.publisher.Mono;

import java.util.List;
import java.util.Map;

import org.springframework.http.MediaType;
import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.DeleteMapping;
import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.GetMapping;
import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.PathVariable;
import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.PutMapping;
import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.RequestBody;
import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.RequestMapping;
import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.RequestParam;
import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.RestController;

public class MovieController {

	private final MovieRepository movieRepository;

	private final MovieService movieService;

	public MovieController(MovieRepository movieRepository,
		MovieService movieService) {
		this.movieRepository = movieRepository;
		this.movieService = movieService;

	Mono<MovieEntity> createOrUpdateMovie(@RequestBody MovieEntity newMovie) {

	@GetMapping(value = { "", "/" }, produces = MediaType.TEXT_EVENT_STREAM_VALUE)
	Flux<MovieEntity> getMovies() {
		return movieRepository

	Mono<MovieEntity> byTitle(@RequestParam String title) {
		return movieRepository.findOneByTitle(title);

	Mono<Void> delete(@PathVariable String id) {
		return movieRepository.deleteById(id);
Testing reactive code is done with a reactor.test.StepVerifier. Have a look at the corresponding documentation of Project Reactor or see our example code.