Coherent radiation in the extreme ultraviolet and soft x-ray spectral regions can be generated as high-order harmonics by focusing a high-power, short-pulse laser into a jet of free atoms or ions. This process is of basic physics interest, as a probe of the behavior of an atom strongly perturbed by an electromagnetic field. At the same time, the generated radiation has unique properties of short pulse length, high peak power, and high spectral brightness which can be utilized in various applications. The perspectives for optimizing this process, both in efficiency, spectral range, and characteristics are discussed. Examples are presented, illustrating how this new source of coherent radiation can be used in different applications.