OQGRAPH engine: hierarchies/graphs inside the database made easy

Architecture and Technology
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Everybody knows that dealing with hierarchies (such as category trees) and graphs (such as social networks) in a relational database is awkward, and depending on your needs it becomes either ugly or downright impossible to do quickly in SQL (lots of queries needed, etc).

What if…

- you could do such operations with simple single queries?
- you could have not only simple trees but also complex ones (multiple parents)? Better front-end navigation…
- you could have complex graphs for friend-of-a-friend or other structures? Enabling tech for your apps…
- you could load RDF data sources into MySQL and traverse them easily? Better access to more information sources…

The OQGRAPH engine does all that, without breaking a sweat. Externally it looks like a table and a storage engine, but internally it’s a computational engine, in this case specialised for graph operations. It’s not a general purpose data store, so it works together with other storage engines (such as InnoDB) using normal joins. there are no SQL syntax additions or changes.

The base implementation of OQGRAPH is GPLv2+ licensed and available for MySQL 5.0 (patch), MySQL 5.1 (plugin), MariaDB 5.1 and Drizzle. Similar to the MEMORY storage engine, it keeps its data in memory and thus is non-persistent.

There is now also an example Drupal module available, extending the friendlist module with easy friend-of-a-friend searches. This can be a real “enabler” for many sites, and serve as an example for other new and optimised uses.

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Arjen Lentz

Open Query

Arjen initially started with C programming, but has since branched out to other stuff that blends geekness with more human interaction.

Arjen was employee #25 at MySQL AB (2001-2007), dealing with Documentation, Community Relations, Training, Support, Licensing, and acting as Program Chair for the 2005 and 2006 MySQL Users Conferences. He also co-authored the 2nd edition of O’Reilly’s popular “High Performance MySQL” book.

Arjen founded Open Query, delivering affordable remote and on-site MySQL support and training. He also does some coding again with the OQGRAPH engine, and his work on OurDelta (Builds for MySQL & MariaDB).

Outside work Arjen likes spending time with his daughter, bushwalking, camping, and dabbles in organic gardening.

Photo of Antony Curtis

Antony Curtis

Blizzard Entertainment

Antony Curtis is an advocate of Open Source software and long-time user of alternative operating systems. His involvement with MySQL spans 10 years and he was a software developer for MySQL AB from 2003 to 2008. He currently lives in Los Angeles.

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