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Overview of Driver Technology

The sections below contain links to current, historic, and proposed future specifications.


PackStream is a binary presentation format for the exchange of richly-typed data. It provides a syntax layer for the Bolt messaging protocol.


Bolt is an application protocol for the execution of database queries via a database query language, such as Cypher. It is generally carried over a regular TCP or WebSocket connection.

Bolt inherits its core type system from PackStream, over which its messages are generally carried. Each version of Bolt provides a number of type system extensions, via the PackStream type extension mechanism.

Bolt Protocol Handshake Specification

All Bolt connections begin with a handshake to negotiate which version of the messaging protocol to use. Following a successful negotiation, the agreed messaging protocol then takes ownership of the connection for the remainder of its lifetime. The handshake itself is not versioned.

Bolt Protocol Handshake Specification

Bolt Protocol Message Specification

Bolt Protocol Server State Specification

For the server, each connection using the Bolt Protocol will occupy one of several states throughout its lifetime.

This state is used to determine what actions may be undertaken by the client. Each server state specification corresponds to a message specification with the same version.

Bolt Protocol and Neo4j Compatibility

Neo4j Version Bolt 1 Bolt 2 Bolt 3 Bolt 4.0 Bolt 4.1 Bolt 4.2 Bolt 4.3 Bolt 4.4
3.0 x              
3.1 x              
3.2 x              
3.3 x              
3.4 (x) x            
3.5   (x) x          
4.0     (x) x        
4.1     (x) (x) x      
4.2     (x) (x) (x) x    
4.3     (x) (x) (x) (x) x  
4.4     (x) (x) (x) (x) (x) x

The (x) denotes that support could be removed in next version of Neo4j.

Neo4j Driver API

Neo4j Drivers export a uniform API.

This allows driver concepts and naming to be shared across ecosystems, making transition between languages and multi-language support easier and more consistent.

Driver API Specification

Neo4j Drivers

Java Driver

JavaScript Driver

.NET Driver

Python Driver

Go Driver