WARNING: This documentation refers to an outdated version of rosjava and is probably incorrect. Use at your own risk.

Package Details

As mentioned above, rosclj is just a lightweight set of macros and functions to simplify the use of rosjava from Clojure. Users of rosclj should read the rosjava documentation as well.

rosclj is currently in an early stage of development, and has primarily been used to write interactive high-level nodes and teleop the PR2. It is likely missing useful functionality for other use cases; contributions and patches are welcome.

Creating, building, and running rosclj packages

In addition to the setup instructions given for rosjava, to develop or run rosclj nodes you first need to download and build Clojure. Then, you must create a new directly somewhere, symlink clojure.jar and other additional jars you want on your classpath (e.g., clojure-contrib.jar) into this directory, and set the environmental variable "CLJ_HOME" to point at this directory.

To create a new package that uses rosclj, your manifest.xml must include a dependency on rosclj:

<depend package="rosclj"/>

Then, in CMakeLists.txt, you first add your Clojure source directories:


Finally, you can generate binary (scripts) that launch a Clojure REPL with your code in the classpath, or run a particular Clojure file, as follows:

rospack_add_clj_executable(bin/do_stuff script.clj)

Initializing ROS and getting a NodeHandle

To create a ROS node, first load rosclj.

(use 'ros.ros) 

Then, call (import-ros) as a shortcut to import all of the rosjava classes into the current namespace:


Next, get a handle to the global ROS instance and initialize it, by directly calling the corresponding rosjava methods.

(def *ros* (Ros/getInstance))
(.init *ros* "my-node")

Finally, once you have initialized ROS, you can get a scoped NodeHandle by calling with-node-handle:

(with-node-handle [nh *ros*] (println (.now nh)))

or simply create one by calling rosjava methods directly:

(def nh (.createNodeHandle *ros*))

Messages and Services

Like all Java objects, rosjava Message objects can be manipulated directly from Clojure. Often, however, it is much more convenient to manipulate Message data represented as Clojure maps. To this end, rosclj provides functionality to automatically convert between rosjava Message objects and Clojure maps of a particular form, for when ease of use is more important than raw speed.

To use this functionality, you must first declare the top-level Messages and Services you want to use:

(defmsgs [std_msgs Float64] [geometry_msgs Twist PoseStamped])
(defsrvs [roscpp GetLoggers SetLoggerLevel] [roscpp_tutorials TwoInts])

This will set up Clojure infrastructure for converting between messages and maps for these types, as well as all submessages/request/response message classes below them. It will also import all such Message Classes into the current namespace, so they can be referred to by their unqualified names (except where this would case a name conflict).

In particular, after declaring a message, you can use msg->map to convert a rosjava Message into a rosclj map, and map->msg to go back in the other direction:

(msg->map (SetLoggerLevel$Request.))
(map->msg {:class Point :x 1 :y 2 :z 3})
(map->msg Pose {:position {:x 1 :y 2 :z 3} :orientation {:x 0 :y 0 :z 0 :w 1}})

As you can see, the Clojure representation of a message is a map from keyword-ized field names to values, plus a :class field that maps to the java.lang.Class object corresponding to the message type.

msg->map simply converts a Message to this form, recursively converting all submessages into maps. Arrays of submessage types are transformed into lazy sequences of submessage maps, but primitive arrays are left intact to allow for efficient manipulation if desired. If the input to msg->map is already a map, it is returned unchanged.

map->msg goes in the other direction, using message field type information to do its best to construct a Message out of what you give it. If you pass a Message, it is returned unchanged. Otherwise, you must pass a map with the outermost :class filled in, or pass the Message Class directly along with a map of field data (no :classes required). The outermost map will be converted to a Message of the given type, with numbers being coerced to the proper types, submessages being recursively converted, and sequences being transformed to arrays. An error will be produced if any fields are missing. The only exception is the Header type, for which only the ":frame_id" is required.

A number of other methods for manipulating and introspecting Messages can also be found in ros.clj. A potentially useful example is import-all-msgs-and-srvs, which imports the Java classes for all defined Messages and Services into the current namespace, which can be useful for debugging at the REPL.

Convenience Functions

rosclj also provides a very minimal suite of convenience functions for interacting with rosjava callbacks, topics, and services.

make-subscriber-callback and make-service-callback take a Clojure function that expects a message, and wrap it into a Subscriber or ServiceServer callback. More conveniently, sub-cb and srv-cb define a fn-like syntax for directly declaring subscriber and service callbacks that take (and return) Clojure maps, which are converted to/from rosjava Messages of the proper types behind the scenes.

(.subscribe nh "/topic" (Float64.) 
            (sub-cb [m] (println (:data m)))
(.advertiseService nh "/add_two_ints" (TwoInts.)
                   (srv-cb TwoInts [req] {:sum (+ (:a req) (:b req))}))

At an even higher level, functions are provided for writing or reading a single message from a topic, and calling a service. put-message advertises a topic, waits until a given number of subscribers are achieved, publishes the given message, and then shuts down the Publisher. get-message subscribes to a topic, returns the first message received, and then shuts down the Subscriber. Finally, call-service creates a ServiceClient, calls the service with the given request, and then shuts down the service.

(put-message nh "/talk" {:class Float64 :data 12.0} 1)
(get-message nh "/listen" Float64)
(:sum (call-service nh "/add_two_ints" {:class TwoInts$Request :a 5 :b 10}))

These are primarily meant for interactive development at the REPL, although they may find some use in more mature programs as well. In such cases, rosclj also provides "-cached" versions of each function (e.g., put-message-cached) that keep the Publisher/Subscriber/ServiceClient around after the first call, for efficiency comparable to manually managing these rosjava objects. The cached persistent connections will be kept open until the NodeHandle used to create them is shutdown.

Known Issues

The build system does not yet expose a way to add additional JARs to the compilation/execution classpaths, or use multiple Java/Clojure source trees.

There is also a known issue with Message and Service definitions in rosclj packages. In particular, packages must be "made" twice for locally defined Message and Service .class files to be generated.

Patches are welcome.


Review Process

Wiki: rosclj (last edited 2013-01-16 21:16:24 by AustinHendrix)