The marriage of optics and MEMS has resulted in a new category of optical devices and systems that have unprecedented advantages compared with their traditional counterparts. As an important spatial light modulating technology, diffractive optical MEMS obtains a wide variety of successful commercial applications, e.g. projection displays, optical communication and spectral analysis, due to its features of highly compact, low-cost, IC-compatible, excellent performance, and providing possibilities for developing totally new, yet smart devices and systems. Three most successful MEMS diffraction gratings (GLVs, Polychromator and DMDs) are briefly introduced and their potential applications are analyzed. Then, three different MEMS tunable gratings developed by our group, named as micro programmable blazed gratings (μPBGs) and micro pitch-tunable gratings (μPTGs) working in either digital or analog mode, are demonstrated. The strategies to largely enhance the maximum blazed angle and grating period are described. Some preliminary application explorations based on the developed grating devices are also shown. For our ongoing research focus, we will further improve the device performance to meet the engineering application requirements.