This Highlight explores the progress and perspective in studies of metal–organic frameworks (MOFs), a new class of nanoporous materials, particularly suited for storage and separation applications related to energy utilization and environmental remediation. Since the discovery of the first MOF compound, hundreds of different MOFs have been developed and reported. MOFs are generally synthesized by self-assembly of metal ions/clusters as coordination centers and organic ligands as linkers. They possess intriguing chemical and physical properties and are structurally tunable, thermally stable and mechanically sound. MOFs are increasingly proving to be a superior class of materials for state-of-the-art applications in crystal engineering, chemistry, and materials science. In this Highlight, we present general routes for MOFs synthesis, discuss reticular design of their pore structures, and show some of their remarkable applications, especially in the areas of storage and separation.