Photonic devices that exploit photonic crystal (PhC) principles in a planar environment continue to provide a fertile field of research. 2D PhC based channel waveguides can provide both strong confinement and controlled dispersion behaviour. In conjunction with, for instance, various electro-optic, thermo-optic and other effects, a range of device functionality is accessible in very compact PhC channel-guide devices that offer the potential for high-density integration. Low enough propagation losses are now being obtained with photonic crystal channel-guide structures that their use in real applications has become plausible. Photonic wires (PhWs) can also provide strong confinement and low propagation losses. Bragg-gratings imposed on photonic wires can provide dispersion and frequency selection in device structures that are intrinsically simpler than 2D PhC channel guides--and can compete with them under realistic conditions.© (2005) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.