ActiveNode is the ActiveRecord replacement module for Rails. Its syntax should be familiar for ActiveRecord users but has some unique qualities.

To use ActiveNode, include Neo4j::ActiveNode in a class.

class Post
  include Neo4j::ActiveNode


All properties for Neo4j::ActiveNode objects must be declared (unlike neo4j-core nodes). Properties are declared using the property method which is the same as attribute from the active_attr gem.


class Post
  include Neo4j::ActiveNode
  property :title, index: :exact
  property :text, default: 'bla bla bla'
  property :score, type: Integer, default: 0

  validates :title, :presence => true
  validates :score, numericality: { only_integer: true }

  before_save do
    self.score = score * 100

  has_n :friends

Properties can be indexed using the index argument on the property method, see example above.


To declare a index on a property

class Person
  include Neo4j::ActiveNode
  property :name, index: :exact

Only exact index is currently possible.

Indexes can also be declared like this:

class Person
  include Neo4j::ActiveNode
  property :name
  index :name


You can declare that a property should have a unique value.

class Person
  property :id_number, constraint: :unique # will raise an exception if id_number is not unique

Notice an unique validation is not enough to be 100% sure that a property is unique (because of concurrency issues, just like ActiveRecord). Constraints can also be declared just like indexes separately, see above.


Pass a property name as a symbol to the serialize method if you want to save a hash or an array with mixed object types* to the database.

class Student
  include Neo4j::ActiveNode

  property :links

  serialize :links

s = Student.create(links: { neo4j: '', neotech: '' })
# => {"neo4j"=>"", "neotech"=>""}
# => Hash

Neo4j.rb serializes as JSON by default but pass it the constant Hash as a second parameter to serialize as YAML. Those coming from ActiveRecord will recognize this behavior, though Rails serializes as YAML by default.

Neo4j allows you to save Ruby arrays to undefined or String types but their contents need to all be of the same type. You can do user.stuff = [1, 2, 3] or user.stuff = [“beer, “pizza”, “doritos”] but not user.stuff = [1, “beer”, “pizza”]. If you wanted to do that, you could call serialize on your property in the model.


Implements like Active Records the following callback hooks:

  • initialize
  • validation
  • find
  • save
  • create
  • update
  • destroy

created_at, updated_at


class Blog
  include Neo4j::ActiveNode
  property :updated_at  # will automatically be set when model changes


Support the Active Model validation, such as:

validates :age, presence: true validates_uniqueness_of :name, :scope => :adult

id property (primary key)

Unique IDs are automatically created for all nodes using SecureRandom::uuid. See Unique IDs for details.


What follows is an overview of adding associations to models. For more detailed information, see Declared Relationships.

has_many and has_one associations can also be defined on ActiveNode models to make querying and creating relationships easier.

class Post
  include Neo4j::ActiveNode
  has_many :in, :comments, origin: :post
  has_one :out, :author, type: :author, model_class: Person

class Comment
  include Neo4j::ActiveNode
  has_one :out, :post, type: :post
  has_one :out, :author, type: :author, model_class: Person

class Person
  include Neo4j::ActiveNode
  has_many :in, :posts, origin: :author
  has_many :in, :comments, origin: :author

You can query associations:

post.comments.to_a          # Array of comments                # Post object       # Original comment and all of it's siblings.  Makes just one query
post.comments.authors.posts # All posts of people who have commented on the post.  Still makes just one query
You can create associations

post.comments = [comment1, comment2]  # Removes all existing relationships
post.comments << comment3             # Creates new relationship = post1                  # Removes all existing relationships