An interactive visual tool for finding small patterns from a large graph of heterogenous data
CoffeeScript HTML Java Shell CSS Lex Other
Latest commit fd4ff9e May 24, 2017 @netj committed on GitHub Fixes broken paper link

SmallGraphs & GraphD

SmallGraph is a simple graph query language for property graph model, i.e. labeled multi-graph each of whose vertex/edge has associated key-value pairs. SmallGraphs and GraphD are the key components of the toolchain that implements the effective usage of this query language.

For a quick overview, read a short writeup about SmallGraphs.

Quick Start

1. Download and Install

First, download SmallGraphs/GraphD and place it where you can easily access it. Assuming ~/bin is already in your PATH environment:

curl -RLO

mv ~/bin/graphd
chmod +x ~/bin/graphd

Please note that node.js is essential to running SmallGraphs/GraphD. Make sure it is installed to your system.

Now, you need to decide where you want to keep all your GraphD metadata and some actual data. The following instructions will assume graphs/ is the directory you chose, and already present at that directory.

mkdir -p graphs
cd graphs

2. Start GraphD

To start the GraphD server at the current working directory, run:

graphd start

(You can optionally pass a PortNumber if you want to use a port other than the default 53411.)

3. Create Graphs

Before sketching or running any query, you need to tell GraphD where your data is, and how it is laid out there. You can use different backends for different graphs, and instructions will vary depending on which you choose.

3.1 Create MySQL-backed Graph

To use data in you MySQL server and view it as a graph, run:

graphd create mysql NameOfTheGraph MySQLDatabaseName Username Password

(You can pass optional arguments Hostname and PortNumber at the end if they differ from localhost and 3306.)

After running it, you will find an rdbLayout.json file generated, which contains how the vertices and edges are laid out in your relational database. You can modify this JSON file to fix the labels, or remove unwanted vertex and edge types.

Don't forget to add to PATH where MySQL is installed. For instance:


Otherwise, you may get errors, such as mysqldump: not available.

3.2 Create Giraph-backed Graph

Giraph is an open-source implementation of Pregel that runs on a Hadoop cluster. Pregel is a distributed graph processing style used by Google, which allows you to describe graph algorithms by specifying how each vertex should process and transmit messages.

To use Giraph for processing our queries, run:

graphd create giraph NameOfTheGraph

Then, move into the graph, and import some RDF NTriples:

cd NameOfTheGraph
graphd import GraphDataFile.nt

This step will dictionary encode all the triples, i.e. assign unique number to each URI and automatically derive a graph schema for you based on what types of vertices happen to be linked by edges of which types.

3. Run Queries with SmallGraphs

You can now open http://localhost:53411/ from your web browser to sketch and run graph queries.

(WebKit-based browsers, such as Safari or Chrome are recommended.)

4. Stop GraphD

When you are done with using SmallGraphs and GraphD, simply run the following command from where you started it:

graphd stop

The remaining sections will explain build instructions and organization of this source tree.

How to build


SmallGraphs, GraphD, and other tools here are written mostly in CoffeeScript or Bash, and requires node.js for building and running. Please install at least the following dependencies to your system before you proceed.

On Mac OS X, you are recommended to use Homebrew to install most of the missing ones.

brew install node git coreutils maven

On Debian-based systems, you can install most of them by running:

sudo apt-get install git build-essentials coreutils findutils bash sed gawk tar maven

You may need to run the following git commands, to make sure you have all the required submodules checked out:

git submodule init
git submodule update


To build, simply run:


Everything built will be staged under @prefix@/. You can add a directory to your PATH environment for convenience.


graphd ...


If you want to install it to your system or in your home, say ~/smallgraphs/bin, then run:

make install PREFIX=~/smallgraphs


graphd ...

Another option is to create a self-extracting executable by running:

make PACKAGEEXECUTES=bin/graphd

This will generate a flat executable file graphd-*.sh. You can then put this single file anywhere you want and use it as any other script or executable.

Source Layout

  • ui/ contains code related to the frontend user interface that lets you sketch queries and browse through results.
  • graphd/ contains the backend code that compiles queries and drives other systems to run them.
  • shell/ contains the command-line interface code.
  • smallgraph/ contains the parser and serializer for our SmallGraph DSL.
  • tools/ contains some useful tools for handling graph data.
  • doc/ contains some documentation.