Setting Up your Development Environment

About this module

As a data scientist, you will create Neo4j Databases, add and update data in them, and query the data. When you learn to use Neo4j as a data scientist, you have two options: the Neo4j Desktop or the Neo4j Sandbox. In this module you will learn how to setup the Neo4j Sandbox for use in the rest of the course, and connect to it from Jupyter notebooks hosted in Google Colabatory.

In this module, you will:

  • Create a Neo4j Sandbox for learning Neo4j.

  • Connect to the Citations database with Neo4j Browser.

  • Launch a Jupyter Notebook in Google Colaboratory and connect to the Citations database.

Neo4j Sandbox


The Neo4j sandbox is another way that you can begin development with Neo4j. It is a temporary, cloud-based instance of a Neo4j Server with its associated graph that you can access from any Web browser. The database in a Sandbox may be blank or it may be pre-populated. It is started automatically for you when you create the Sandbox.

By default, the Neo4j sandbox is available for three days, but you can extend it for up to 10 days. You must make sure that you extend your lease of the sandbox, otherwise you will lose your graph and any saved Cypher scripts you have created in the sandbox. However, you can use Neo4j Browser Sync to save Cypher scripts from your sandbox. The Sandbox is intended as a temporary environment or for learning about the features of Neo4j as well as specific graph use-cases.

How to set up a Neo4j Sandbox

This video shows you how to create a Neo4j Sandbox. If you have never used or created a Neo4j Sandbox before, you might find it helpful to watch this video before you create your Citations Sandbox for this course.

Step 1: Create the Citations Sandbox

  1. Create a Citations Sandbox Note that this is a special sandbox that is not available on the public Neo4j Sandbox site.

  2. Select Launch Sandbox button and then wait for it to start.

The Sandbox has a Neo4j database with a pre-loaded Citations dataset.

You must create the Citations Sandbox with the above link and you must be signed in to the sandbox site. You cannot create it from the public Neo4j Sandbox site.

Using Neo4j Browser

Neo4j Browser is a tool that enables you to access a Neo4j Database by executing Cypher statements to create or update data in the graph and to query the graph to return data. The data returned is typically visualized as nodes and relationships in a graph, but can also be displayed as tables. In addition to executing Cypher statements, you can execute a number of system calls that are related to the database being accessed by the Browser. For example, you can retrieve the list of queries that are currently running in the server.

You can use Neo4j Browser functionality via the web interface.

Step 2: Connect to the Citations database with Neo4j Browser

Open a Neo4j Browser connection to the Citations Sandbox by clicking the Open Neo4j Browser for the Sandbox.

A new Web browser tab should open with a connection to the Citations Sandbox:


If you have never used Neo4j Browser before for a Sandbox, you might find the Guided Tour of the Sandbox helpful, otherwise, simply close it.

Step 3: Open a Jupyter Notebook in Google Colaboratory and connect to the Citations database

In this course you will use Jupyter Notebook hosted on the Google Colaboratory environment. All the notebooks in this course require a connection to your Neo4j Sandbox instance, so you will test that now.

Launch the notebook by clicking below. This will open a tab for the Jupyter Notebook where you will set it up to connect to the Neo4j Sandbox.

Launch Notebook!


You should now have set up your development environment by:

  • Creating a Neo4j Sandbox for learning Neo4j.

  • Connecting to the Citations database with Neo4j Browser.

  • Launching a Jupyter Notebook in Google Colaboratory and connecting to the Citations database.