topic_proxy implements a ROS service server and client to pull single messages from one master and optionally republish them locally.
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topic_proxy
README.md

README.md

topic_proxy

topic_proxy implements a ROS service server and client to pull single messages from one master and optionally to republish them locally.

The package provides three targets:

  • A server node that runs on the foreign master (usually the robot) and serves requests from clients.

    The TCP connection manager binds to a fixed port so that the client does not have to lookup the connection information at the foreign master (default port is 11322).

    Note: If you want to restart the server node you have to wait for approximately 1-2 minutes until the old socket listener transitions from TIME_WAIT to CLOSED state. Otherwise you will get an "Address already in use" error. The roscpp connection manager does not set the SO_REUSEADDR socket option. This problem is known as the "TCP TIME_WAIT problem".

  • A client library named libtopic_proxy.so.

    The client library provides a high-level class interface for getting and publishing messages from a server. The most important public member functions are

      template <class M> boost::shared_ptr<const M> getMessage(string topic, Duration timeout, bool compressed);
      template <class M> void publishMessage(M message, string topic, bool compressed);
    

    which wrap the request into service calls.

  • A client node that is built on top of the topic_proxy library and republishes or subscribes topics on the client side on behalf of the server.

    The client can be configured either via the parameter server (see client.launch file for a simple example) or by using service calls to request single messages or to configure the subscribers and publishers.

    If you want to connect to multiple servers (robots), you can run multiple clients in different namespaces.

Services

Server side:

  • /get_message (topic_proxy/GetMessage)

    Retrieve a single message from the server. The server will create a new subscriber if no one exists for the specified topic.

    Request parameters:

    • string topic: Name of topic to subscribe at the server.
    • bool compressed: If true, the message instance in the response is compressed using bzip2 compression.
    • duration timeout: Time to wait for a new message, if no message has been received yet. If timeout is zero, the last received message is returned without waiting.
  • /publish_message (topic_proxy/PublishMessage)

    Publish a message at the server. The server creates a new publisher if no one exists for the specified topic.

    Request parameters:

    • MessageInstance message: The message instance to publish.
    • bool latch: If true, the topic will be latched.

###Client side:

  • request_message (topic_proxy/RequestMessage)

    Adds a new publisher at the client side (or modify the properties of an existing one). The client internally uses /get_message calls to retrieve messages from the server and republishes them locally.

    Request parameters:

    • string topic: Name of the topic to subscribe at the server. The local topic is prefixed by the value of the string parameter topic_prefix for the client.
    • bool compressed: see /get_message
    • duration timeout: see /get_message
    • duration interval: If >0, the client starts a timer to fetch messages periodically from the server. If =0, a single message is retrieved and published. The service call will block until the message is received and published. If <=0 and there is an active timer for this topic, the timer will be stopped.
    • bool latch: If true, the topic will be latched locally.
  • add_publisher (topic_proxy/AddPublisher)

    Adds a new subscriber at the client side. The client forwards each incoming message to the server using a /publish_message call internally.

    Request parameters:

    • string topic: Name of the topic to advertise at the server. The local topic is prefixed by the value of the string parameter topic_prefix for the client.
    • bool compressed: If true, all outgoing messages will be transferred compressed using bzip2 compression.
    • bool latch: If true, the topic will be latched at the server.

    Note that you do not have to specify the message type. The first message that is reveived by the local subscriber will specify the message type and create the publisher at the server side. The first message sent from the client may therefore be missed by subscribers on the server side, as it takes some time for the connections to be established after the new publisher is created.

Example

At the server:

rostopic pub /chatter std_msgs/String "hello" -r 1 &
rosrun topic_proxy server

At the client:

ROS_NAMESPACE=client rosrun topic_proxy client [<host> [<port>]]

You have to use namespaces or the topic_prefix parameter if the client and server are using the same ROS master.

Then request a message from the server using

rosservice call /client/request_message '{ topic: chatter }'

This will create a publisher on /client/chatter at the client and a subscriber on /chatter at the server. Only one message is retrieved (interval parameter defaults to zero). If you want to poll the server periodically, specify an interval:

rosservice call /client/request_message '{ topic: chatter, interval: 1000000000 }'   # polls once a second

You can now listen to the server's chatter topic at the client:

rostopic echo /client/chatter

To publish a response, call the add_publiher server to create a local subscriber:

rosservice call /client/add_publisher '{ topic: chatter_response }'

The server-side publisher will be created once a message is received from the client:

rostopic pub /client/chatter_response std_msgs/String "world" -r 1 &

The server will republish this message as chatter in his local namespace.

See client.launch launch file in the topic_proxy package for a launch file example that does the same setup using ROS parameters.

blob_tools

blob provides a new message type blob/Blob for binary data.

Currently, only roscpp is supported. Other client libraries like rospy will serialize/deserialize blob data as uint8[], as defined in the message definition.

Usage Example

MyMessage.msg:

blob/Blob map_blob      # a serialized (and compressed) nav_msgs/OccupancyGridMap

Publisher:

{
    ...
    MyMessage temp;
    nav_msgs::OccupancyGridMap my_map;
    ...
    temp.map_blob.serialize(my_map);
    temp.map_blob.setCompressed(true); // enable compression
    ...
    publisher.publish(temp);
}

Subscriber:

void callback(const MyMessageConstPtr& msg)
{
    // WARNING: instantiation of the "wrong" data type may result in non-sense data and/or StreamOverrunExceptions
    // blob/Blob is not type-safe!
    nav_msgs::OccupancyGridMapPtr my_map = msg->map_blob.instantiate<nav_msgs::OccupancyGridMap>();
    
    if (my_map) {
        ....
    }
}