Photonics, the technology of photons (as electronics is the technology of electrons), promises to be the new century's driving force in the advancement of, mainly but not only, information technology, such as communications and computing. This technology was initiated with the advent of lasers and optical fibers that, for various reasons, embody the best choice of source and channel of the information carrier: the photon. If the parallel with electronics is to be further pursued, one soon realizes that many more components are needed not only in the transport section of the technology but also, and principally, in the logic section: signal processing. An answer is promised to many of these demands by the potentiality of the new photonics era: photonic bandgap (PBG) materials, otherwise known as photonic crystals (PCs). In the present review a general perspective is presented on the state of the art in PC technology providing a broad audience-oriented description of fundamentals and properties.