Regardless of how you need to use your data, a transform can help.
Depending on the steps that are built into them, transforms act as data processors. For instance, you can sort or filter data as you write it from your XML data store to a document or spreadsheet program.
So, you can publish a newsletter listing new business partners by state, but omitting their street addresses. You can also use your XML products inventory to create a Web catalog without showing your supplier's unit prices, or sort salespeople by region or manager when you generate the latest diagram of your organization.
What's more, transforms can also control your visual displays — the appearance of your data. For instance, you can use a transform to print sales data so that it looks like it came from a spreadsheet program, even if it didn't, or vice-versa.
In addition to creating Web pages, you can also use transforms to deploy multiple versions of a Web site. You can store all your data in one place and create a set of transforms that make your data look good in any number of Web browsers. When visitors come to your site, you detect their browser type and route them to the appropriate version of your content. You can stop building and maintaining separate Web content for each browser type, which of course saves time and money.
And because more companies, schools, and government agencies are adopting XML, software companies are providing transforms that work with their programs. In the future, you'll be able to quickly find and download transforms that either meet your needs or that your IT folks can easily adjust to suit your purpose. This means that your first investment in XML will enable you to do more and more as time goes by.