Integrating electronic and photonic functions has become a major issue in the last decade. This integration requires small photonic circuits that are compatible with CMOS processing. Here an approach using an indium phosphide based membrane is reviewed. The high index contrast, leading to micron sized devices, the full set of photonic functions, including lasers, and the possibility to add these membranes to realized CMOS-circuits, make this an attractive option for hybrid integration. In this paper the concepts and the required technologies are introduced. A range of realized and proposed membrane devices will be presented, and the prospects of this technique will be discussed.