Quickly migrating from Rosbuild to Catkin

ROS uses CMake, a powerful cross-platform build tool, at its core. Rosbuild and Catkin are ROS scripts for managing the CMake-based build system for ROS. Catkin is the newer, preferred option.

ROS packages that are build using Rosbuild do not work in a Catkin workspace thus it becomes necessary to migrate from Rosbuild to Catkin. The ROS Wiki provides a comprehensive guide for migration, however manually performing these steps can be time consuming and frustrating. This simple step-by-step guide is designed to help you to quickly get started with the migration process.

Prepare a catkin workspace

Install wstool

ROS provides a tool for managing SCM repositories (such as git, mercurial or subversion). One limitation of this tool is that you cannot add non-versioned elements into the workspace. To install wstool, simply run sudo apt-get install python-wstool.

Create a catkin workspace

Assuming you have an SVN repository with a workspace named mybot, run the following commands:

mkdir ~/mybot

cd ~/mybot

wstool init src


This will create a Catkin workspace with a src directory containing a CMakeLists.txt file, and build and devel directories.

Add the packages to the workspace

To download the packages from SVN proceed as follows:

cd ~/mybot

wstool set -t src catkin --svn https://svn.yourdomain.com/svnroot/mybot

wstool update -t src

This will download and install packages from SVN to the target -t src directory within your Catkin workspace.

Let ROS know about this workspace

Simply source your workspace:

cd ~/mybot/devel

source setup.bash --extend

Migrate packages to catkin

Install the catkinize script

The catkinize script  from ros-infrastructure semi-automates the creation of a new CMakeLists.txt file, and its associated package.xml file. Installing the script is very simple:

git clone https://github.com/ros-infrastructure/catkinize.git

cd catkinize

sudo python setup.py install

Run the catkinize script in each package

A rosbuild package will contain CMakeLists.txt, Makefile, and manifest.xml files. The catkinize script creates a new CMakeList.txt file and a package.xml file. In each package, run: catkinize my_package 0.0.0

Compile the catkinized code

A catkin workspace is compiled from the top-level directory. Simply run:

cd ~/mybot


Once each package has been catkinized, the CMakeLists.txt and package.xml files should be updated accordingly.

One thought on “Quickly migrating from Rosbuild to Catkin

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s