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Treecreeper is a set of modular nodejs libraries for managing Graph data. It is built on top of neo4j and uses libraries and many ideas developed for GRANDstack. From the end user's point of view it provides:

  • A GraphQL API for reading connected data
  • A RESTful API for writing connected data
  • A CMS style user interface for managing the data

From the developer's point of view, it provides a number of packages that can be composed to provide the features listed above:

  • A specification for a yaml schema which is used to power the rest of treecreeper
  • tc-schema-validator - A schema validator for ensuring the schema provided to the treecreeper application(s) by the developer is valid
  • tc-schema-publisher - A schema publisher to enable 'Hot reloading' of the schema by the treecreeper application(s)
  • tc-schema-sdk - An SDK for consuming the schema, allowing applications to build user interfaces
  • tc-api-db-manager - A database manager for ensuring the underlying neo4j database is indexed appropriately
  • tc-api-graphql - A GraphQL API implementation
  • tc-api-rest-handlers - A set of REST handlers that enable editing of the data, and which broadcast events when data changes
  • tc-api-express - An express wrapper around the database manager, GraphQL and REST handlers
  • tc-api-s3-document-store - An optional document store utility, which allows storing large pieces of data in S3 instead of neo4j (which does not handle large files very well). The interface provided by this store is documented, and developers may want to write alternatives that store documents in other locations
  • tc-ui - A user interface that allows editing and viewing data. this also exports React components and some other tools to allow building custom user interfaces
  • tc-markdown-parser - A tool for parsing structured markdown content into a payload for the REST API



TODO. In the meantime, see /demo directory in this repository for inspiration

  • Express API
  • Express UI
  • Markdown ingester



  • nodejs 12
  • docker
  • wget (if using MacOS this won't be preinstalled)

Set up

Install dependencies:

make install

Start the neo4j community edition database. This requires the APOC procedures library to be added to a plugins directory:

make run-db


  • The make run-db command requires you to have an account with docker, (you should be able to do that here) and download the the docker application (you should be able to do that here)).

This can be done without docker if desired, by instead installing a neo4j database instance to the neo4j directory, the directory structure and scripts to run are the same as the docker configuration.

Running the demo application

make run

This will start the demo node process on port 8888. See /demo/api.js for details of the urls served

Running Biz-Ops with treecreeper

make env-biz-ops
make run-biz-ops

This will hook-up treecreeper with Biz-Ops and make it available on port 8888

e.g. http://localhost:8888/System/biz-ops-api


make test

Will start jest in watch mode

To run tests for a single package use an environment variable: pkg=tc-schema-sdk make test

For many tests to execute successfully you will also need to run make run-db in a separate terminal

UI testing

tc-ui does not use jest as its test runner - instead it uses cypress to run browser based tests

  • run make run in one terminal
  • In another terminal run make cypress-verify cypress-open. This opens an interactive dialog. This allows individual test files to be run on demand. To run a single test use .only in the spec file, and then use the cypress UI to just run that file.
  • Source and test files will reload automatically on change. However this will also restart the demo application and tests will often try to run while the app is not yet ready to receive traffic, so after the tests auto run, wait a few seconds and manually re-run them by clicking on the 'circle with an arrow' button in the browser window that cypress opens.


  • Merge branch with master
  • Create a release tag using semver versioning standards
  • Wait for circleci build to complete to publish
  • Identify and clone any repo's which use the tc-package you have updated
    • Update the package.json to require all tc-* packages at the new version
    • Follow specific repo instructions for merging/testing/deploying update


A treecreeper is a small, woodland bird which climbs up tree trunks in search of invertebrates to eat.

A tree is a type of Graph (the only type of graph that GraphQL can represent well)

It seems apt to name this project after a creature that spends its life scampering around trees.