[Neo] Choosing between a property or a node

Mattias Persson mattias at neotechnology.com
Fri Feb 19 12:27:07 CET 2010

I've included some first thoughts on how you could model this. The
choice of properties/index vs. relationships is often quite obvious,
but is some cases you'll have to try and see which fits best. But
neo4j encourages you to create relationships if you're in doubt and
it's often better to use more relationships types than fewer, i.e.
it's good to be as specific as possible when modelling your graph.

2010/2/19 Max De Marzi Jr. <maxdemarzi at gmail.com>:
> Hello,
> What is the proper way to handle things that have only a few choices like:
> gender (male/female/unknown)
> status (active, inactive, purged)
> race(10 choices + other)
> etc.
> As properties of a Person node, or as nodes that link to the Person node?
> Pros or Cons of each method?
It depends on how you're querying the data... gender, status and race
could probably be modelled using properties (and maybe indexed with
IndexService, see http://components.neo4j.org/neo4j-index/) since you
would use them as filters in queries. But if you're planning to do
traversals which will bridge persons over to other persons (or other
entities) via f.ex. status, then relationships would be handier.
> How about something with instances?
> Student took a Class (twice) once with This teacher, once with Another
> Teacher.
> The first time he failed, the second time he got a B.
> Create a StudentClass node with a property of Grade, linked to Teacher?
Yes, have each student as a node. Each class instance as a node with
TEACHES_IN relationship to teacher (and maybe CLASS_TYPE relationship
to what type of class the class instance is). Have a TAKES_CLASS
relationship between student and class instance and set grade property
on that relationship.
> In order to answer:
> Find all students who took the class.
Relationships between student and class.
> Find all students who took the class when it was offered in the spring
> semester (or taught by This Teacher).
Start from either a teacher node (and go to the class instance) or
from a class instance. They can be lookup up from and IndexService or
something) and get relationships to students from there.
> Find all students who got a B
If you create nodes for each grade available and create relationships
to those grade nodes whenever a student gets a grade. Then it'd be
easy to just get that "B" grade node and traverse all its
relationships to students. Otherwise you could index the grade
property from the ATTEND_CLASS relationships (see above) for the
student nodes.
> Find all students to got a B in this class?
Start from the class and traverse out to all its class instances and
students, filtering those who got a B (using the grade property on
ATTEND_CLASS relationships).
> Find all students to got a B in this class during the spring semester?
Same as previous but only traverse those class instances which were
offered in spring semester.
> Find all students to got a B in this class when This Teacher taught it?
Start from either the teacher node or the class node and find the
class instance for that class which the teacher has a relationship to.
And tou get the students from there.

I hope this will help you,


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