A great deal of progress has recently been made in the field of ordered porous materials with uniform channel dimensions that can be adjusted over a wide range of length scales. The present paper describes the state of the art and the evolution from highly ordered mesoporous silica, aluminosilicate and pure carbon materials to our very recent success in hierarchically structured meso-macroporous carbon materials, single and binary oxides and aluminosilicates. By means of selected examples, we want to shed some light on the current strategies for the conception of these sophisticated materials. The great potential applications of these new nanomaterials emerge while their real utilisation in some expected and traditional industrial processes such as catalysis, separation, electrode materials for fuel cells and biomaterials still faces some important challenges, for example, the high price, the pelletisation and the stability (thermal, hydrothermal and water resistance). Some new perspectives, which can open the concrete applications of these materials in nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and medical purposes, will be prospected.