Mozilla launched Firefox 3.5 today, and with it, a neat applet, powered by SQLstream, to monitor downloads in real time.

You can see the results at Mozilla’s download stats page.

A few weeks ago, Apple’s Hyperwall was awe-inspiring as a piece of visual art, but it was less impressive as a piece of real-time data integration, because the data was delayed five minutes from the app store.

SQLstream gathers data from Mozilla’s download centers around the world, assigns each record a latitude and longitude, and summarizes the information in a continuously executing SQL query. Data is read with sub-second latencies, and then aggregated (using SQLstream’s streaming GROUP BY operator) into summary records each describing a second of activity.

A server-side Java program reads the data using JDBC, serializes it as JSON, and transmits it to all connected web clients. Clients render the charts using the Canvas tag, newly introduced in HTML 5. The results are very impressive visually, but to a back-end guy like myself, the plumbing is impressive too.

The amazing thing is that SQLstream makes this so easy. Our official company blurb talks about “shortening data integration projects from months to weeks”, but this project took just a couple of days of work.

By the way, don’t try to view the page in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Ten years ago, Internet Explorer led the charge to enhance the capabilities of the web browser, introducing dynamic HTML (DHTML), XML handling in the browser, ActiveX controls and other capabilities, but those days are over. With HTML 5 there is a renaissance in web standards; Firefox is leading the pack, with other ‘modern’ browsers such as Safari, Opera and Chrome not far behind.