Direct reprogramming technology has emerged as an outstanding technique for the generation of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells and various specialized cells directly from somatic cells of different species. Recent studies dissecting the molecular mechanisms of reprogramming have methodologically improved the quality, ease and efficiency of reprogramming and eliminated the need for genome modifications with integrating viral vectors. With these advancements, direct reprogramming technology has moved closer to clinical application. Here, we provide a comprehensive overview of the cutting-edge findings regarding distinct barriers of reprogramming to pluripotency, strategies to enhance reprogramming efficiency, and chemical reprogramming as one of the non-integrating approaches in iPS cell generation. In addition to direct transdifferentiation, pluripotency factor-induced transdifferentiation or cell activation and signaling directed (CASD) lineage conversion is described as a robust strategy for the generation of both tissue-specific progenitors and clinically relevant cell types. Then, we consider the possibility that a combined method of inhibition of roadblocks (e.g. p53, p21, p57, Mbd3, etc.), and application of enhancing factors in a chemical reprogramming paradigm would be a safe, reliable and effective approach in pluripotent reprogramming and transdifferentiation. Furthermore, with respect to the state of native, aberrant, and target gene regulatory networks in reprogrammed cell populations, CellNet is reviewed as a computational platform capable of evaluating the fidelity of reprogramming methods and refining current engineering strategies. Ultimately, we conclude that a faithful, highly efficient and integration-free reprogramming paradigm would provide powerful tools for research studies, drug-based induced regeneration, cell transplantation therapies and other regenerative medicine purposes.