With your project deployed and the client thrilled to bits, you may be tempted to dust your hands off, walk away, and look for your next challenge in life, be it PHP related or not.
You would be wise to avoid leaving the country too quickly, however. In addition to the client's inevitable tirade of functional change requests which will require at least discussion, if not implementation as well you are also highly likely to be deluged with requests for data.
After your solution has been up and running in a production mode for a few weeks, a myriad of data will have been collated in the database. If your project was a simple e-commerce site there will, if you're lucky, have been sales made. In the case of our Sales Force Automation tool, data on the activity of our salespeople will have been recorded. How do you turn this raw data into something usable?
In this chapter, we look at this challenge and see how you can best rise to meet it. In the first section, you learn the basics of reporting, including the kind of requests that are typically made and how best to accommodate them. Then we examine an intelligent approach to the systems architecture of report generation and determine the best way to deliver reports to your clients.