Have you ever stared at the computer screen for so long that your eyes hurt and look like you haven’t blinked for 5 hours straight? That was me as I was trying to implement a use case that uses R as the medium that connects Neo4j with Tableau. It was taking a long time and until now, I still don’t understand how to fix the error I ran into. My frustration forced me to think more creatively. With some help from a friend to understand what GrapheneDB is, I found a way to integrate Neo4j in Tableau that doesn’t involve any coding.
This method saved my eyes and integrates Neo4j in Tableau UI. Neo4j and Tableau can draw from the same datasource (if you don’t intentionally set them up to draw from different datasource). The downside is that the user won’t be able to send data back and forth between Tableau and Neo4j, which can be an upside for someone who wants independent data exploration between Tableau and Neo4j. This means that if you click on a data point in Tableau, neo4j wouldn’t display that data point but waits until you query for that data to display it.
Why should you care?
Whether you are techy or non-techy, Neo4j and Tableau are applicable to lots of professional fields (seriously! finance, real estate, medical, etc) + COOL + easy + fast + might help your career/ education + no coding!
So what the H are these gibberish neo-this and tab-that? Well, let me explain.
- Neo4j is the world’s leading NOSQL graph database that stores data and query connected elements in your data model. The cool thing about Neo4j is that its UI is easy to navigate and fun to use. Who doesn’t like bouncy bubbles that mean business and grab people’s attention.
Just to add to the topic of graph database, Facebook has its own product, called Unicorn, that powers your FB data. Thanks to Unicorn, you can find your friends/ stalk interests/ block creepers.
Source: Facebook, inc.
- Tableau is a business intelligence software that allows users to connect data, visually analyze data, and share the visualizations. It’s a great tool for presenting an analysis because the visualization can convey a lot of information efficiently and attractively. This is definitely a tool that get executives/ clients (or anyone with little time and the attention span of a teenager) interested and asking questions. Below is a screenshot of a the Dow analysis. Check it out if you wanna see what you can make in Tableau.
Source: Tableau Public
While Tableau has great visual analytics capabilities, Tableau doesn’t have the ability to show relationships/ network of connections between elements. Hence, the combination of Neo4j and Tableau makes this a powerful analytics tool.
- GrapheneDB is a cloud hosting platform for the Neo4j graph database. GrapheneDB has done a really great job, especially since it gives those who like free tech like me 10K relationships and 1K nodes for free ^^
THE GOOD STUFF
Description: What I will demonstrate is a simple and effective method that embeds Neo4j into Tableau. Users can then query from Neo4j within Tableau. Both Neo4j and Tableau should be drawing from the same datasource to avoid data inconsistency. The Neo4j data in GrapheneDB is stored in a cloud storage. Whether that be AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Heroku is up to you.
Prerequisites: can click, type, copy, and paste = a 3 year-old. No coding, I promise.
- Create a GrapheneDB account. No credit card required. Just email + pass.
2. Create a database. I prefer the Hobby>Sandbox account because that’s free.
4. Now you have successfully created a database. There’s no data in here yet. How to load data.
Launch your neo4j web interface.
5. Once you click launch, a browser similar to the one below should pop up. Copy the URL from that browser.
Note: If you have error 403, that means that you didn’t include the authorization in your URL. Structure your URL in this format to fix the problem: http://graphenedbdatabasename:graphenedbdatabasepassword@originalURL
6. Download a Tableau Desktop free trial. If you are qualified, download the free student version here. You have to provide proof of being a student. Student version = 1 year; free trial = 14 days.
8. On the left side of your dashboard, find Web Page. Drag the icon to where it says “Drop Sheets Here.”
9. Once you drag Web Page in, a window that asks for a URL will pop up. Paste the URL that you copied from GrapheneDB (step 5).
10. And voila, you have Neo4j up and running in Tableau. No code? Say WHATTT#$(!$).
Data security: If you want your Neo4j in Tableau to have read-only mode, which means you don’t want users to change your data (add/delete/modify nodes), you can configure that in GrapheneDB. However, that will cost money. But it is worthwhile if that’s a concern.
Career + Love: These tools are applicable for any field, whether that be finance, economics, marketing, IT, politics, fraud detection, ecommerce, e-harmony 😀 etc. Pretty much anywhere that wants to find relationships. Yes, graph database can help you date, and maybe find love.
BTW, Yelp has a thing called the Yelp Data Challenge.
If you are a student and come up with an appealing project, you’ll have the opportunity to win one of ten Yelp Dataset Challenge awards for $5,000.
You can leave your resume with Yelp when you download the dataset. Challenge deadline is Dec 31, 2015. Hey, why not!? Neo4j and Tableau would be awesome ways to present your findings!
I hope you enjoyed the post. If you have trouble getting this exercise to work, feel free to leave comments and I will try my best to help. Hasta la vista!