AR Cité Blog

A Conversation With Augusto Mota Pinheiro

Augusto Mota Pinheiro talks about his experience with coding AR Cité. He worked as the main software developer on the app while attending CÉGEP. He is a Dawson-alumni from the Interactive Media Arts program and he now attends Concordia University where he is majoring in Computer Science, with a minor in Biophysics.

Question: In general, how was your experience working with the app and the project?

Answer: I mostly worked on it part-time, while I was at Dawson and Concordia. In a project like this, you don’t have full control, so you have to accommodate, but knowing that you are such a small team, having the independence and liberty of doing certain things by yourself, suggesting new ideas and knowing that they won’t just go into the void, that was really nice. I got kind of accustomed to that in the wrong way, you would say, because often, especially in big companies you may work with later on, you don’t have that same kind of autonomy. You really have to prove yourself.

Question: What were some of the challenges that you had when you were working on it?

Answer: It was the first big project that I ever worked on, so of course that brought along things that I’ve never thought about before. For example, one thing was that every device has a different aspect ratio. So, you know, making sure that something that you see on the iPad is more or less what you see on the iPhone was important, without knowing exactly which device it’s going to land on. That was a bit complicated, and you make do with what you’ve got.

Question: Can you speak on the creative process?

Answer: Yeah. Communicating your ideas in an efficient manner is also something that was needed, especially when you’re working with proper adults. Not that they put you in a lesser position, but you feel like it’s hard to put out your ideas. They might be perfectly good, if not better than what they have. That was the whole teamwork part and then there were specific creative ideas… I didn’t play a big role in design or anything as such. That was mostly the graphic designers and Reisa as well.

Question: Can you talk a bit about how you got into the project?

Answer: Yeah. John, a professor at Dawson, sent me an email one day asking if I was interested in working on a coding-related project, which ended up being the program we used to make the app. I said yes and then that’s when he put me in contact with Reisa, and she sent me the ideas. It was nice to be able to dedicate a lot of my energy to it because it became a part-time job. Then we put together a team and started organizing weekly meetings.

Question: What was your role in the project?

Answer: I guess the title you would use is “software developer”. Basically, since the other developer that we had was often busy with different projects, I took charge of pretty much everything that had to do with the app. I developed many things for the app. What you see on the app, its inner workings, all the server-side stuff which you don’t see, as well as the ingest tool. The ingest tool is a website that you go on, add a new site, a new location or change the data on the app. It can be done almost immediately.

Question: And what did you get out of it? What was your favourite part?

Answer: I think it was being able to call it my own. I can now put it on my portfolio and say, yes, I know basically every single line that was written in the code. I know this because I’m the one that put it in. Also being held accountable for all the bugs and mistakes that come up. It’s, I guess, helpless in a sense but when you have a problem, it’s something you can track, it’s something you did.

Question: Because when they’re idle mistakes then it means you did your job well…?

Answer: Yes, but even with the mistakes… We have this saying in programming that if you did something the first time from scratch and it went really well and there’s no errors, no nothing, you should be more scared than if something went wrong the first time. This is because there’s probably something that’s wrong, deeper in the full stack of code. Being able to fix bugs and make something the best it can be is very satisfying.

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