Graph browser and PLM user experience

Graph browser and PLM user experience

I have a passion for graphs. After many years of advocating for PLM and product data, I found graph is such a beautiful and elegant model for information in engineering and manufacturing domain. Of course, graphs aren’t limited to product information. However, the way PLM products were built for the last 15-20 years, makes graph experience very appealing and compliant with PLM-ish lingo.

Here is one of my recent articles about graphs  – Will graph provide a perfect model for PLM?  Graphs are also playing an important role in the company I co-founded – OpenBOM ( Check few of my OpenBOM blogs – OpenBOM and advantages of global BOM graph and Bill of Materials and Neo4j meeting in Boston.

Although graphs are very inspiring and fascinating, to develop user interface that capable to provide an easy and simple user experience for graphs was always a challenge. I can see this challenge very much similar to PLM user experience – lot of data, high level of complexity, relationships. All together it makes graph UX tough. So, I’m constantly looking for innovation and new experiment in this field

Earlier today, I found an interesting new application – Graph Gopher: The Neo4j browser for iPhone. It caught my attention immediately. The combination of mobile screen like iPhone and such complex model as graph is a big challenge. So, if it can do a job, maybe it can provide some ideas for PLM UX developers

Navigate to the following article to read more – Graph Gopher: The Neo4j Browser Built on Swift for Your iOS Device [Community Post]

An ambition for Graph Gopher was to be way faster to load and use than than loading up the web interface in a browser tab and and interacting with your Neo4j instance that way. In practice it has been no match: it is a very convenient tool. Even though I use a Mac all through my working day, I still access my Neo4j instances primarily through Graph Gopher

Another important feature is multi-device support. I use both an iPhone and an iPad, and I know people will use it on both work and private devices. Therefore it was important to me that session configuration was effortlessly transferred between devices, as well as favorite nodes. This has been implemented using iCloud, so that if you add a new instance configuration on one device, it will be available to all devices using the same iCloud account. Likewise, when you favorite.

These two aspects – speed and multi-device support are very interesting for experimenting how to build an efficient application browsing connected pieces of information.

These are examples of iPhone screenshot from application page in App Store.

What is my conclusion? I’m interested to learn more about Gopher and see how I can use it to browser existing data on OpenBOM and other sources of information.  And I hope to talk to Niklas Saers about his app. Although none of major PLM vendors is using Neo4j today, I can see this model potentially influencing data structure and management experience of PLM applications. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Want to learn more about PLM? Check out my new PLM Book website.

Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of OpenBOM developing cloud based bill of materials and inventory management tool for manufacturing companies, hardware startups and supply chain. My opinion can be unintentionally biased.


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