Skip to content


Repository files navigation

ROS Message Parser for .NET

Handle ROS message files with ease

ROS Message Parser allows you to parse ROS message/service/action files.

You can either use one built in Parser for

  • Messages (*.msg)
  • Services (*.srv)
  • Actions (*.action)

or build your own visitors or listeners on top of the generated parse tree.


ROS Message Parser for .Net is available as NuGet Package.

dotnet add package RobSharper.Ros.MessageParser

Supported .NET versions

  • .NET Standard 2.0
    • .NET Core 2.0 or later
    • .NET Framework 4.6.1 or later
    • Mono 5.4 or later
    • Xamarin.iOS 10.14 or later
    • Xamarin.Mac 3.8 or later
    • Xamarin.Android 8.0 or later
    • Universal Windows Platform 10.0.16299 or later



Built in Parsers

Use the built in parsers if you want to get a structured representation of a ROS message.

Parsing a message file

var descriptor = new MessageParser(File.ReadAllText(filePath)).Parse();


MessageDescriptor descriptor;
using (var file = File.OpenRead(filePath))
    var parser = new MessageParser(file)
    descriptor = parser.Parse();

Parsing a service file

var descriptor = new ServiceParser(File.ReadAllText(filePath)).Parse();


ServiceDescriptor descriptor;
using (var file = File.OpenRead(filePath))
    var parser = new ServiceParser(file);
    descriptor = parser.Parse();

Parsing an action file

var descriptor = new ActionParser(File.ReadAllText(filePath)).Parse();


ActionDescriptor descriptor;
using (var file = File.OpenRead(filePath))
    var parser = new ActionParser(file);
    descriptor = parser.Parse();

What you get from the parsers is a either a MessageDescriptor, ServiceDescriptor or a ActionDescriptor representing the structure of the ROS message file. You can then operate on these message structures.

Have a look on the UML diagram below for a detailed description.

Message Parsers UML diagram

Intercepting descriptor creation

You can intercept the descriptor creation by creating a class which implements RobSharper.Ros.MessageParser.IRosMessageVisitorListener. This allows you to implement the following methods used in the object tree creation:

  • void OnVisitRosMessage(MessageDescriptor messageDescriptor)
  • void OnVisitRosService(ServiceDescriptor serviceDescriptor)
  • void OnVisitRosAction(ActionDescriptor actionDescriptor)
  • void OnVisitFieldDeclaration(FieldDescriptor fieldDescriptor)
  • void OnVisitConstantDeclaration(ConstantDescriptor constDescriptor)
  • void OnVisitComment(string comment)
  • void OnVisitIdentifier(string identifier)
  • void OnVisitType(RosTypeInfo typeInfo)
  • void OnVisitRosType(RosTypeInfo typeInfo)
  • void OnVisitBuiltinType(RosTypeInfo typeInfoDescriptor)
  • void OnVisitArrayType(RosTypeInfo arrayTypeInfo)
  • void OnVisitRosbagInput(RosbagMessageDefinitionDescriptor rosbag)
  • void OnVisitRosbagNestedType(NestedTypeDescriptor descriptor);

You can then pass this listener to the Parse(IRosMessageVisitorListener listener) method of the Parser.

One note regarding the Visit*Type Methods. They are ordered hierarchically the following way:

  • OnVisitArrayType
    • OnVisitType
      • OnVisitBuiltInType
      • OnVisitRosType

Create your own parse tree Visitor or Listener

Used for low level parse tree processing.

Build your own ANTLR visitor or listener to process the abstract syntax tree. Extend RobSharper.Ros.MessageParser.Antlr.RosMessageParserBaseListener or RobSharper.Ros.MessageParser.Antlr.RosMessageParserBaseVisitor respectively.

Having ANTLR IDE Support displaying the parse tree will make this expedition much more comfortable. See for a list of supported IDE plugins

Example Assume the following ros message file:

#This is a comment
int8 myIntValue

The Parser creates the following abstract syntax tree based on the input message:

Message Parsers UML diagram

The base visitor and listener classes implement methods for all tree node types which you can override. The grammar defines these tree node types.


ROS Message Parser for .NET is based on ANTLRv4. If you are not familiar with ANTLR there is a good tutorial from Gabriele Tomasetti (

Testing the project

XUnit tests can be found in RobSharper.Ros.MessageParser.Tests project. This project references coverlet for collecting code coverage information and ReportGenerator to transform the coverage report to readable HTML. The reports are part of the CI test stage artifacts.

To collect coverage information on your machine use the command dotnet test /p:CollectCoverage=true /p:Exclude="[xunit*]*" /p:CoverletOutputFormat=opencover.


This project is licensed under the BSD 3-clause license. Learn more