Getting Set Up with Kettle and Neo4j

Matt Casters
Dec 4, 2018 · 3 min read

Neo4j is an awesome piece of technology. The ability to use cutting edge graph algorithms like shorted path, community detection, centrality while running transactional operations is only possible in any meaningful and performing way on a fully native graph database like Neo4j.

So how do you get started? Well, you need to load data into Neo4j first and this is where a data integration tool like Kettle might come in.

What is Kettle?

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From Kafka to Neo4j

For example, here is a visual representation of a Kettle “transformation” which does the following:

  • Receive messages from Kafka
  • Do look-ups in MongoDB
  • Write nodes and relationships to Neo4j

The technical aspect of setting up a transformation like this takes a few minutes at most so you can focus on things like data quality, the graph model, the requirements, data accuracy, performance and so on.

As you can imagine doing this without the need for coding, scripting or anything like that can be very time-saving for the set-up and the maintenance of your solution later on.

So how do you get started with Kettle itself and what about the Neo4j plugins?

Kettle download and installation

Make sure you have the right Java 8/9 runtime environment properly installed for your computer system. Java from Oracle or OpenJDK is recommended. Kettle runs fine on Windows, OSX or Linux.

Now unzip the downloaded archive somewhere. It will give you an extra data-integration/ folder. This is all you need to do for as far as Kettle is concerned.

Install the Neo4j plugins for Kettle

Unzip this where you placed your Kettle distribution in the data-integration/plugins/ folder.

Now the fun starts

  • on Windows start Spoon.bat
  • on OSX start or the app: “Data”
  • on Linux start

You will notice a welcome page with useful links:

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The Spoon Welcome page

You can find the Neo4j plugins when you create a new transformation:

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The Neo4j steps category in Spoon

Next steps

Stay tuned for the next story in which I’ll be going over a few concrete examples of data loading into Neo4j.

Enjoy Kettle!


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