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GraphOmics Setup Guide

GraphOmics can be somewhat tricky to install due to its large number of dependencies. Please follow all the steps below carefully. In the future, we will prepare dockerised image of GraphOmics that is ready to run.

The following are the instructions to get GraphOmics running on Ubuntu 18.04.

1. Install Java 8

Neo4j specifically requires Java 8 to be installed. If you don’t have Java installed, you can install it with the command below:

$ sudo apt install openjdk-8-jdk

Otherwise validate that you have Java 8 installed:

$ java -version
openjdk version "1.8.0_181"

2. Install Neo4j Community Edition

Linux Installation - Neo4j Reference.

Run the following commands to install Neo4j Community Edition 3.4.6:

$ wget -O - | sudo apt-key add -
$ echo 'deb stable/' | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/neo4j.list
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install neo4j=1:3.4.6

Later version of Neo4j can also be used, as long as it is version 3 (version 4 seems to have problems with Reactome database).

Verify that Neo4j is running:

$ sudo service neo4j status

From the status above, you can see that $NEO4J_HOME is located at /var/lib/neo4j. If Neo4j is not running, start it:

$ sudo service neo4j start

Once it’s running, set the initial password to whatever you prefer.

$ curl -H "Content-Type: application/json" -X POST -d '{"password":"WHATEVER THE PASSWORD IS"}' -u neo4j:neo4j http://localhost:7474/user/neo4j/password

3. Install Reactome database


Download the Reactome database. Extract and move it to $NEO4J_HOME/data/databases.

$ wget
$ tar xvzf reactome.graphdb.tgz
$ sudo mv graph.db /var/lib/neo4j/data/databases
$ chown -R neo4j:neo4j /var/lib/neo4j/data/databases/graph.db

Edit the config file at either $NEO4J_HOME/conf/neo4j.conf or /etc/neo4j/neo4j.conf. Change dbms.active_database to dbms.active_database=graph.db if necessary.

Check that the neo4j service is running with the following command. If it is not running, start it.

$ sudo service neo4j status

For graph database connection in GraphOmics, be sure to set the following environmental variables:

4. Install R

See this reference. Install R using the commands below and verify that it can run.

$ sudo apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys E298A3A825C0D65DFD57CBB651716619E084DAB9
$ sudo add-apt-repository 'deb bionic-cran35/'
$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install r-base libxml2-dev libcurl4-openssl-dev

Install DESeq2 and limma in R using Bioconductor following this and this.

if (!requireNamespace("BiocManager", quietly = TRUE))


5. Install Django

Note: Django 2.0 requires Python 3. If you also have Python 2 installed, the pip command below might become pip3

$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install python3-pip python3-tk
$ sudo pip install pipenv
$ git clone
$ cd GraphOmics/graphomics
$ touch .env

Update .env to contain like the following example. You can generate a new Django secret key following this link.


Install the virtual environment using pipenv and go into its shell:

$ pipenv install
$ pipenv shell

Note: rpy2 is difficult to install on Windows, see As a workaround, we have included a precompiled .whl version of rpy2 in whl/rpy2-2.9.5-cp37-cp37m-win_amd64.whl, downloaded from The requirements in Pipfile has been configured to try to install this when Windows is detected. If it fails, then please install it manually.

Note2: the Django project template is based on, but it has been modified to support the ‘page-as-a-component’ setup for front-end javascript (

6. Install front-end dependencies

Now we need to install the front-end dependencies of GraphOmics. The Javascript packages required by GraphOmics are managed by Node.js. First, install Node.js for your platform: You can choose the LTS version for this.

Once Node.js is installed, you need to get a package manager. Here we use Yarn (alternatively you can use npm). Below is the instructions for Ubuntu (for other platforms, refer to

$ curl -sS | sudo apt-key add -
$ echo "deb stable main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/yarn.list
$ sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install yarn

In the GraphOmics/graphomics directory where package.json can be found, type the following to download all the front-end packages:

$ yarn

To run webpack in development mode so it rebuilds the bundle when there’s a change to your file, type:

$ yarn run dev

To run webpack in production mode to generate a minified bundle, type:

$ yarn run build

JQuery, D3.js and React are already configured in the project, and they can be readily used.

7. Start GraphOmics

Now you can start the GraphOmics app in Django. Do a migration the first time to create the database tables

$ python migrate

And you can start the server by:

$ python runserver

8. Jupyter Notebook

Notebooks are very useful for prototyping and troubleshooting. Using shell_plus, you can launch a notebook that has access to django objects.

References: In the same directory that contains, run:

$ jupyter notebook

You might need to do the following configurations to make the notebook work properly:

  1. Add the environmental variables DJANGO_CONFIGURATION=Development, DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE=graphomics.settings and PYTHONPATH=<root of GraphOmics python project>
  2. Make sure that django-configuration is setup properly when launched from notebook, see This is used to let Jupyter notebook load Django objects directly.