Getting started with roslibpy is simple. The following examples will help you on the first steps using it to connect to a ROS environment. Before you start, make sure you have ROS and rosbridge running (see ROS Setup).

These examples assume ROS is running on the same computer where you run the examples. If that is not the case, change the host argument from 'localhost' to the IP Address of your ROS instance.

First connection

We start importing roslibpy as follows:

>>> import roslibpy

And we initialize the connection with:

>>> ros = roslibpy.Ros(host='localhost', port=9090)
>>> ros.run()

Easy, right? Let’s check the status:

>>> ros.is_connected

Yay! Our first connection to ROS!

Putting it all together

Let’s build a full example into a python file. Create a file named ros-hello-world.py and paste the following content:

import roslibpy

client = roslibpy.Ros(host='localhost', port=9090)
print('Is ROS connected?', client.is_connected)

Now run it from the command prompt typing:

$ python ros-hello-world.py

The program will run, print once we are connected and terminate the connection.

Controlling the event loop

In the previous examples, we started the ROS connection with a call to run(), which starts the event loop in the background. In some cases, we want to handle the main event loop more explicitely in the foreground. roslibpy.Ros provides the method run_forever() for this purpose.

If we use this method to start the event loop, we need to setup all connection handlers beforehand. We will use the roslibpy.Ros.on_ready() method to do this. We will pass a function to it, that will be invoked when the connection is ready.

The following snippet shows the same connection example above but using run_forever() and on_ready:

from __future__ import print_function
import roslibpy

client = roslibpy.Ros(host='localhost', port=9090)
client.on_ready(lambda: print('Is ROS connected?', client.is_connected))


The difference between run() and run_forever() is that the former starts the event processing in a separate thread, while the latter blocks the calling thread.


Once your task is done, you should disconnect cleanly from rosbridge. There are two related methods available for this:


Terminating the event loop is an irreversible action when using the twisted/authbahn loop because twisted reactors cannot be restarted. This operation should be reserved to be executed at the very end of your program.


If rosbridge is not responsive when the connection is started or if an established connection drops uncleanly, roslibpy will try to reconnect automatically, and reconnect subscriber and publisher topics as well. Reconnect will be retried with an exponential back-off.

Hello World: Topics

The Hello world of ROS is to start two nodes that communicate using topic subscription/publishing. The nodes (a talker and a listener) are extremely simple but they exemplify a distributed system with communication between two processes over the ROS infrastructure.

Writing the talker node

The following example starts a ROS node and begins to publish messages in loop (to terminate, press ctrl+c):

import time

import roslibpy

client = roslibpy.Ros(host='localhost', port=9090)

talker = roslibpy.Topic(client, '/chatter', 'std_msgs/String')

while client.is_connected:
    talker.publish(roslibpy.Message({'data': 'Hello World!'}))
    print('Sending message...')



Writing the listener node

Now let’s move on to the listener side:

from __future__ import print_function
import roslibpy

client = roslibpy.Ros(host='localhost', port=9090)

listener = roslibpy.Topic(client, '/chatter', 'std_msgs/String')
listener.subscribe(lambda message: print('Heard talking: ' + message['data']))

    while True:
except KeyboardInterrupt:

Running the example

Open a command prompt and start the talker:

python ros-hello-world-talker.py

Now open a second command prompt and start the listener:

python ros-hello-world-listener.py


It is not relevant where the files are located. They can be in different folders or even in different computers as long as the ROS instance is the same.

Using services

Another way for nodes to communicate between each other is through ROS Services.

Services require the definition of request and response types so the following example shows how to use an existing service called get_loggers:

import roslibpy

client = roslibpy.Ros(host='localhost', port=9090)

service = roslibpy.Service(client, '/rosout/get_loggers', 'roscpp/GetLoggers')
request = roslibpy.ServiceRequest()

print('Calling service...')
result = service.call(request)
print('Service response: {}'.format(result['loggers']))


Creating services

It is also possible to create new services, as long as the service type definition is present in your ROS environment.

The following example shows how to create a simple service that uses one of the standard service types defined in ROS (std_srvs/SetBool):

import roslibpy

def handler(request, response):
    print('Setting speed to {}'.format(request['data']))
    response['success'] = True
    return True

client = roslibpy.Ros(host='localhost', port=9090)

service = roslibpy.Service(client, '/set_ludicrous_speed', 'std_srvs/SetBool')
print('Service advertised.')


Download it and run it from the command prompt typing:

$ python ros-service.py

The service will be active while the program is running (to terminate, press ctrl+c).

Leave this service running and download and run the following service calling code example to verify the service is working:

Download it and run it from the command prompt typing:

$ python ros-service-call-set-bool.py


Now that you have a grasp of the basics of roslibpy, check out more details in the API Reference.


Besides Topics and Services, ROS provides Actions, which are intended for long-running tasks, such as navigation, because they are non-blocking and allow the cancellation (preempting) of an action while it is executing.

roslibpy supports both consuming actions (i.e. action clients) and also providing actions, through the roslibpy.actionlib.SimpleActionServer.

The following examples use the Fibonacci action, which is defined in the actionlib_tutorials.

Action servers

Let’s start with the definition of the fibonacci server:

import roslibpy
import roslibpy.actionlib

client = roslibpy.Ros(host='localhost', port=9090)
server = roslibpy.actionlib.SimpleActionServer(client, '/fibonacci', 'actionlib_tutorials/FibonacciAction')

def execute(goal):
    print('Received new fibonacci goal: {}'.format(goal['order']))

    seq = [0, 1]

    for i in range(1, goal['order']):
        if server.is_preempt_requested():

        seq.append(seq[i] + seq[i - 1])
        server.send_feedback({'sequence': seq})

    server.set_succeeded({'sequence': seq})


Download it and run it from the command prompt typing:

$ python ros-action-server.py

The action server will be active while the program is running (to terminate, press ctrl+c).

Leave this window running if you want to test it with the next example.

Action clients

Now let’s see how to write an action client for our newly created server.

The following program shows a simple action client:

from __future__ import print_function
import roslibpy
import roslibpy.actionlib

client = roslibpy.Ros(host='localhost', port=9090)

action_client = roslibpy.actionlib.ActionClient(client,

goal = roslibpy.actionlib.Goal(action_client,
                               roslibpy.Message({'order': 8}))

goal.on('feedback', lambda f: print(f['sequence']))
result = goal.wait(10)

print('Result: {}'.format(result['sequence']))

Download it and run it from the command prompt typing:

$ python ros-action-client.py

You will immediately see all the intermediate calculations of our action server, followed by a line indicating the resulting fibonacci sequence.

This example is very simplified and uses the roslibpy.actionlib.Goal.wait() function to make the code easier to read as an example. A more robust way to handle results is to hook up to the result event with a callback.

Querying ROS API

ROS provides an API to inspect topics, services, nodes and much more. This API can be used programmatically from Python code, and also be invoked from the command line.

Usage from the command-line

The command line mimics closely that of ROS itself.

The following commands are available:

$ roslibpy topic list
$ roslibpy topic type /rosout
$ roslibpy topic find std_msgs/Int32
$ roslibpy msg info rosgraph_msgs/Log

$ roslibpy service list
$ roslibpy service type /rosout/get_loggers
$ roslibpy service find roscpp/GetLoggers
$ roslibpy srv info roscpp/GetLoggers

$ roslibpy param list
$ roslibpy param set /foo "[\"1\", 1, 1.0]"
$ roslibpy param get /foo
$ roslibpy param delete /foo

Advanced examples

The following list is a compilation of more elaborate examples of the usage of roslibpy.

We encourage everyone to submit suggestions for new examples, either send a pull request or request it via the issue tracker.