The two practices which define our work are marking up instance texts and then processing those marked-up instances. A particular text might, or might not, be marked up within the confines of a particular vocabulary, schema or DTD, just as an instance text might or might not be processed within the constraints of a particular schematic, which might or might not be the schematic anticipated when the instance was marked up. Thus it is the instance which is crucial both to markup and to processing, and the schematic, if any, is not the primary subject of either. The implications of this premise will determine the future of our field and the applicability of our practices to discrete areas of expertise. In this presentation I intend to derive from this notion of instance-first a clear picture of what our practices must look like in order to carry out this premise and to fulfill its promise.