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A real puzzler

August 31, 2015

Photo of Reuel Ramos RibeiroReuel Ramos Ribeiro is a computer science student from Brazil who, like his five other Brazillian BIT Project teammates, is getting extra experience in Canada thanks to the Brazilian government’s Ciência sem Fronteiras (Science Without Borders) program. Though Winnipeg and the BIT Program were selected for him, Reuel said that Canada appealed to him “because of its good quality of life, the respectfulness of its population (which is easy to find), and the low level of corruption”. A puzzle games enthusiast and problem-solving driven programmer, Reuel’s technology preferences are Web-related, and his skills in that area are quickly growing these days. Easily the most quiet of the team, Reuel shines in back-end development and his database and coding skills have underpinned everything the rest of the team has built.

I blindly dove into Project. But I got really excited by the prospects…

Q: What were you hoping to get out of this BIT Space Development project when you first heard about it?

Honestly, I didn’t know much about it or what to expect. I blindly dove into Project. But I got really excited by the prospects after being a part of it for only a few weeks. I can say for sure that it turned out to be an extremely valuable experience in all possible aspects.

Q: What has been the most useful thing you have learned so far through the project?

Diagram of Scrum process

Scrum Framework

It’s hard to pick only one thing. Being part a real development team and one that uses Scrum project management has been great experience. So has all the hands-on development using new technologies such as Gitflow workflow for medium sized projects and the incredibly powerful PHP using the Laravel Web application framework. And then there’s the deepening of my appreciation for continuous integration and the orderly deployment of code to servers.

What is the most challenging thing you have learned so far through the project?

Working with a group of people who have so many different ideas has taught me that a project can be much more complex than it appears at a first glance. Ideas nowadays, together with technologies, fly so high and move so fast that it can be challenging to keep up. Being introduced to so many new development techniques and technologies all at a once in the beginning was overwhelming. Even then, they are only a small portion of what industry has to offer.

Image of Slack message

Screen shot of Reuel’s pushed code via BSD’s GitLab source control and Slack messaging system.

Q: What have been most enjoyable and most frustrating parts of the project?

Building a fresh product right from its foundation and having the opportunity to contribute to discussions with the client around new features and enhancements was great. But sometimes features or solutions that appear to be really simple on the drawing board turn out to be much more complex and tricky than expected once you move to actual development and deployment. Overcoming those challenges is always extremely rewarding.

Q: How will what you have learned so far (and anticipate learning) through the project impact your future?

Immersion in this project’s business environment has been a switch from my university’s more research and academic focus back in Brazil. This experience will most definitely give me a better grounding for the world of entrepreneurship and pave the way for me to think about starting my own business.

Q: Can you explain what you have been working on for the past week?

A very interesting and dynamic Web platform for anyone who wants a dedicated service for interactive panoramic or 360-degree photos. The possibilities for it are many. You could, for example, build an interactive virtual tour showing your office/facilities to clients. It is similar to Google Street View in some sense, but with more interactivity.

Screen capture of PanoPlā, Bit Space Development's interactive multimedia Content Management System

Screen capture of PanoPlā, Bit Space Development’s interactive multimedia Content Management System

Q: What have been your biggest challenge and your proudest achievement related to that?

I like to think about the underlying structure of whatever I build. I’m always worried about the quality of the software infrastructure. I can say that I’m proud about the solid foundation that we’ve built for our product and I am sure that it will have a positive impact on the quality of future development.

Q: What will be your best memory of Winnipeg?

Probably the challenging winter. It was a little tough by the end of December because I was not expecting such a long winter, yet I have truly enjoyed it.

Photo of Winnipeg skyline across the river in winter