The availability of high-brilliance hard x-ray synchrotron radiation and the advent of novel photon counting area detectors have brought surface x-ray diffraction (SXRD) into a new era. It is now possible to record large numbers of structure factors with much improved reliability within reasonable beamtime durations. As a result, structural determination of the surfaces and interfaces of complex crystallographic systems and heterostructures has now become feasible, especially in conjunction with phase-retrieval methods. It is thereby hoped that detailed structural information will shed light on the unusual physical properties of these systems. Complex metal oxide systems investigated at the Materials Science beamline of the Swiss Light Source, including the surface of SrTiO3, the interface between LaAlO3 and SrTiO3, and the structure of YBa2Cu3O7 grown on NdGaO3, SrTiO3, and (LaSr)(AlTa)O3 will be presented as examples of what is now possible using SXRD.