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Fiber laser technology is leading a revolution in ultrashort-pulse lasers and their applications. Unlike conventional ultrashort-pulse bulk solid-state laser systems, ultrafast fiber amplifiers can be scaled to average powers >100 W without significant beam-quality distortion from thermal lensing. In this paper, we review recent developments in the generation of high-average power and high-pulse energy ultrashort-pulse fiber sources. In particular, we focus upon advances that enhance the practicality of these laser systems. In several application examples, we show how these improvements in laser performance and utility are critical for achieving the high speed and reliability necessary for commercial processing applications.