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GraphView is a DLL library that enables users to use SQL Server or Azure SQL Database to manage graphs. It connects to a SQL database locally or in the cloud, stores graph data in tables and queries graphs through a SQL-extended language. It is not an independent database, but a middleware that accepts graph operations and translates them to T-SQL executed in SQL Server or Azure SQL Database. As such, GraphView can be viewed as a special connector to SQL Server/Azure SQL Database. Developers will experience no differences than the default SQL connector provided by the .NET framework (i.e., SqlConnection), only except that this new connector accepts graph-oriented statements.


GraphView is a DLL library through which you manage graph data in SQL Server (version 2008 and onward) and Azure SQL Database (v12 and onward). It provides features a standard graph database is expected to have. In addition, since GraphView relies on SQL databases, it inherits many features in the relational world that are often missing in native graph databases.

GraphView offers the following major features:

  • Graph database A graph database in GraphView is a conventional SQL database. The graph database consists of one or more types of nodes and edges, each of which may have one or more properties.

  • Data manipulations GraphView provides an SQL-extended language for graph manipulation, including inserting/deleting nodes and edges. The syntax is similar to INSERT/DELETE statements in SQL, but is extended to accommodate graph semantics.

  • Queries GraphView's query language allows users to match graph patterns against the graph in a graph database. The query language extends the SQL SELECT statement with a MATCH clause, in which the graph pattern is specified. Coupled with loop/iteration statements from T-SQL, the language also allows users to perform iterative computations over the graph. Overall, the query language is sufficiently expressive and easy to use, so that query languages supported by existing native graph databases can easily be expressed.

  • Indexes To accelerate query processing, GraphView also allows users to create indexes. All indexes supported by SQL Server and Azure SQL Database are available, including not only conventional B-tree indexes but also new indexing technologies such as columnstore indexes.

  • Transactions All operations in GraphView are transaction-safe. What is more, there is no limit on a transaction’s scope; a transaction can span nodes, edges or even graphs.

  • SQL-related features GraphView inherits many administration features from SQL Server and Azure SQL Database. Below is a short list of features that are crucial to administration tasks:

    1. Access control. GraphView uses the authentication mechanism of SQL Server to control accesses to graph databases. A user can access a graph database if SQL Server says so.
    2. Replication & backup. GraphView stores graph data in a SQL database. A replication/backup of the database will result in a replication/backup of all graph data.
    3. Cloud-related features. When using GraphView to connect to Azure SQL Database, you enjoy many features of cloud computing, such as geo-replication and multi-tenancy.


GraphView needs Microsoft.SqlServer.TransactSql.ScriptDom.dll. Download and install SQL Server Data Tools.



  • Visual Studio, programming languages -> Visual C# -> Common Tools for Visual C#
  • Install SQL Server Data Tools


Getting Started

GraphView is a DLL library. You reference the library in your application and open a graph database by instantiating a GraphViewConnection object with the connection string of a SQL database.

using GraphView;
string connectionString = "Data Source= (local); Initial Catalog=GraphTesting; Integrated Security=true;";
GraphViewConnection gdb = new GraphViewConnection(connectionString);
try {
  // Connects to a database. 
catch(DatabaseException e) {
  // Exception handling goes here

When the connection string points to an Azure SQL Database instance, you open a graph database in Azure:

using GraphView;
var sqlConnectionBuilder = new SqlConnectionStringBuilder();
sqlConnectionBuilder["Server"] = ",1433";
sqlConnectionBuilder["User ID"] = "xxx";
sqlConnectionBuilder["Password"] = "xxx";
sqlConnectionBuilder["Database"] = "GraphTesting";
GraphViewConnection gdb = new GraphViewConnection(sqlConnectionBuilder.ToString());
try {
catch(DatabaseException e) {
  // Exception handling goes here

Once you open a database, you send graph queries through the connector and retrieve results using the .NET standard data reader DataReader if needed.

try {
  string queryString = "......";       // A graph query
  GraphViewCommand gcmd = new GraphViewCommand(queryString, gdb);
  DataReader dataReader = gcmd.ExecuteReader();
  While (dataReader.Read()) {
    // Retrieve results through DataReader

Please read the user manual for the full language specification, functionality and programming API's.

Get Help

User manual GraphView's user manual is the first place to get help. It introduces the full query language, functionality and programming API's. It also includes many code samples.

GitHub The GitHub repository contains a short introduction. You can use Github's issue tracker to report bugs, suggest features and ask questions.

Email If you prefer to talk to us in private, write to

Dev branches


GraphView is under the MIT license.


GraphView is a DLL library that enables users to use SQL Server or Azure SQL Database to efficiently manage graphs.



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