By Bryce Merkl Sasaki | July 25, 2014
Graph databases haven’t made the news much because, I think, they don’t fit in convenient categories. They certainly aren’t the relational databases we’re all familiar with, nor are they the arbitrary keys and values provided by many NoSQL stores. But in a highly connected world–where it’s not what you know but whom you know–it makes intuitive sense to arrange our knowledge as nodes and edges.
Ted Nelson, inventor of the hyperlink, recognized the power of viewing life in graphs. After the implosion of his historic Xanadu project, he embarked on a graph database tool called ZigZag. The most modern instantiations of graphs–the Neo4j store and the Alchemy.js tool for interactively visualizing graphs–were well represented this year at O’Reilly’s Open Source convention.
Both projects are growing impressively and finding users in domains they didn’t expect. According to Huston Hedinger, Founder and CEO of GraphAlchemist, “Graph visualization can provide insight into information ranging from how communication flows across a social network to where vulnerabilities exist in a supply chain network.”