In 1993/94, ultrabright synchrotron sources of soft X-rays have been commissioned in Taiwan, in Italy and in the USA - and another one is forthcoming in South Korea, The novel field of photoelectron spectromicroscopy is one of the most likely to take advantage of the new levels of concentration of soft X-rays in the samples, We will discuss the recent role of this technique in inauguration of two of the third-generation synchrotron sources, in Italy (ELETTRA) and Taiwan (SRRC), and other developments - which show how this field has already evolved from the development stage to its maturity. We will then briefly mention the similar impact that the free electron laser is beginning to have in surface and interface physics.