This month, LRS Antilles Content Manager® will turn 6 years old, and as the Director of LRS Web Solutions, I could not be prouder as I’ve watched it grow! Here's a little bit about where we've been, where we are and where we're headed.
It’s worth noting, as we look back on the last six years, that the Web Solutions team didn't set out to build a content management system. In fact, eight years ago, the seed that would blossom into LRS Antilles was a basic content editing and management tool that was part of a subscription-based web hosting service we offered. The service, which was designed for the real estate industry, was built around a powerful property search tool that we had developed. With an initial setup fee and monthly subscription, agents, brokers and their teams would get a personalized website (set up in a matter of days or even hours) and they would have administrative controls for managing their site’s content once it was live. Though the service ultimately failed to gain traction, the team and I realized that the content managing tool they had created could be version 1.0 of something much bigger.
That something would empower customers to maintain their websites largely independently, saving time and money by not having to rely on developers to make small changes.
How it Works
Built from the ground up using Microsoft’s ASP.NET framework by the Web Solutions team at LRS, Antilles is a web-based platform and content management system for building and maintaining websites. LRS Antilles provides tools for developers, marketers and business professionals to rapidly deploy line-of-business solutions to customers by utilizing the included modules for managing content, forms, workflow, blogs, and much, much more.
But what makes us especially proud is that LRS Antilles empowers our customers by providing them with easy-to-use, web-based tools to manage their websites largely on their own. (Of course, we're always here to help.)
We took the name Antilles from the group of Caribbean islands. LRS Antilles is built as modules that work together and separately. You can see what I mean in the image above of the dashboard.
Using LRS Antilles, we've built simple websites for small businesses, complex sites for corporations, intranets, customized photo galleries, job banks, e-commerce product feeds,... the list goes on!
Many releases later, LRS Antilles is the backbone of nearly 150 websites covering a variety of industries: banks, health care organizations, industry, government, not-for-profits and more. See our portfolio for a small sampling.
"So Easy to Use!"
But do people like it? You bet they do. The difference is, we wanted to make LRS Antilles easy for anyone to use. We didn't want users to have to know computer coding to use it -- and enjoy using it.
LRS Antilles features an easy-to-use interface that is the result of countless hours of research and development. The team knew that to compete in a crowded market, the platform had to offer intuitive controls and work on any web browser on any device so that anyone could use it.
The hard work paid off. "It's so easy to use!" said Susan Gleason, Vice President of Marketing at Heartland Credit Union. "It's a huge improvement over anything we've used before."
"It's a huge improvement over anything we've used before."
- Susan G., Heartland Credit Union
Product Development Team Lead Beau Ford notes that the "responsive and modern interface available to end-users is a key component of LRS Antilles." He adds that "LRS Antilles provides a world-class foundation, that allows you to run multiple sites, sharing themes and modules all from one installation."
Unlike many content management systems, the major advantage of Antilles (for customers), is the ability to work independently and also directly with the team of web developers who built the CMS that will be running your site. I constantly get emails and calls from our clients saying how helpful our team is with any problem they have, big or small. It makes me proud.
Read our amazing user reviews on Capterra.com
LRS Antilles is Growing Up Fast
Ford and the rest of the development team see much more on the horizon for LRS Antilles. Just as every parent raises their child to make it on their own, Antilles will someday have a life of its own apart from the Web Solutions team. The Antilles road map envisions a day when developers from all over will be using this platform to build websites. To that end, LRS launched a stand-alone website for LRS Antilles in 2017 (www.getantilles.com). The site has its own unique look and feel and, according to the web team manager, Bill Goldsberry, “That’s by design.” Like Ford, Goldsberry envisions a day when "LRS Antilles will be open source and have a community of developers creating an entire LRS Antilles eco-system". To lay the groundwork for that growth, the Antilles website highlights the platform's many features and offers a library of how-to videos and blog posts, and product documentation.
We also count on feedback from our users to help us make the product even better. For example, we've added a blog module, improved photo management, tweaked the interface for better user experience. A lot of these changes stemmed from talking to our users about how we could better assist them with their website management.
Mandy Bekoin, an LRS Antilles "Power User" from an engineering firm put it this way: "Compared to our old system, which involved using a separate icon on my desktop and a lot of time-consuming back-and-forths to publish content, this system [is] organized so much better and so much more conducive to fast and easy content additions and changes."
"Compared to our old system, which involved using a separate icon on my desktop and a lot of time-consuming back-and-forths to publish content, this system [is] organized so much better and so much more conducive to fast and easy content additions and changes."
Mandy Bekoin, Hanson Engineering
The Future is Bright
LRS Antilles is still a labor of love for the team that built it. For now, however, the focus is on building and improving the platform as well as expanding the LRS Antilles customer base. The future is wide open for this product. Prospective customers love LRS Antilles when we demo it for them, and our team loves it too. For all the feedback we've gotten about it being easy to use, we also hear that it's easy to develop for and build with. That's just as important for us and a key to making LRS Antilles really take off.
This year, we will release version 1.20, and we couldn’t be prouder of supporting so many businesses in Illinois and throughout the United States with an easy-to-use, secure and flexible way to manage their websites.
Happy Birthday, Antilles ... oh the places you will go!