The field of host-guest complexation is intensely attractive from diverse perspectives, including materials science, chemistry and biology. The uptake and encapsulation of guest species by host frameworks are being investigated for a wide variety of purposes, including separation and storage using zeolites, and recognition and sensing by enzymes in solution. Here we focus on the concept of the cooperative integration of 'softness' and 'regularity'. Recent developments on porous coordination polymers (or metal-organic frameworks) have provided the inherent properties that combine these features. Such soft porous crystals exhibit dynamic frameworks that are able to respond to external stimuli such as light, electric fields or the presence of particular species, but they are also crystalline and can change their channels reversibly while retaining high regularity. We discuss the relationship between the structures and properties of these materials in view of their practical applications.