Over the last years microarray technology has become one of the principal platform technologies for the high-throughput analysis of biological systems. Starting with the construction of first DNA microarrays in the 1990s, microarray technology has flourished in the last years and many different new formats have been developed. Peptide and protein microarrays are now applied for the elucidation of interaction partners, modification sites and enzyme substrates. Antibody microarrays are envisaged to be of high importance for the high-throughput determination of protein abundances in translational profiling approaches. First cell microarrays have been constructed to transform microarray technology from an in vitro technology to an in vivo functional analysis tool. All of these approaches share a common prerequisite: the solid support on which they are generated. The demands on this solid support are thereby as manifold as the applications themselves. This review is aimed to display the recent developments in surface chemistry and derivatization, and to summarize the latest developments in the different application areas of microarray technology.