The development of new all-optical technologies for data processing and signal manipulation is a field of growing importance with a strong potential for numerous applications in diverse areas of modern science. Nonlinear phenomena occurring in optical fibres have many attractive features and great, but not yet fully explored, potential in signal processing. Here, we review recent progress on the use of fibre nonlinearities for the generation and shaping of optical pulses and on the applications of advanced pulse shapes in all-optical signal processing. Amongst other topics, we will discuss ultrahigh repetition rate pulse sources, the generation of parabolic shaped pulses in active and passive fibres, the generation of pulses with triangular temporal profiles, and coherent supercontinuum sources. The signal processing applications will span optical regeneration, linear distortion compensation, optical decision at the receiver in optical communication systems, spectral and temporal signal doubling, and frequency conversion.