ELETTRA, the brightest source of soft-X-ray in Europe and one of the two brightest in the world, is officially operating as a user facility since the summer of 1995. The source and the operating beam lines have reached and surpassed the design performances. The impact of such performances is already felt in experiments: new applications are possible which were very difficult or quite impossible with the previous generation of sources. We present a few specific results to illustrate this point, and some considerations on the future development of the facility - primarily in view of its large and rapidly growing international use.