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But I was under the impression that if I defined the dependency correctly then catkin_make should automatically download and install rosbridge_library without me having to do it manually. Now I'm starting to doubt it! Am I correct?

No, that is not correct. Installing dependencies is rosdeps responsibility. Finding dependencies is catkins task.

I don't see a

rosdep install --from-paths /path/to/your/catkin_ws --ignore-src

anywhere in the sequence of commands that you listed. You should add it before trying to catkin_make your workspace.

But I was under the impression that if I defined the dependency correctly then catkin_make should automatically download and install rosbridge_library without me having to do it manually. Now I'm starting to doubt it! Am I correct?

No, that is not correct. Installing dependencies is rosdeps responsibility. Finding dependencies is catkins task.

I don't see a

rosdep install --from-paths /path/to/your/catkin_ws --ignore-src

anywhere in the sequence of commands that you listed. You should add it before trying to catkin_make your workspace.


Edit: also, for Python-only projects, you don't actually need any of your Python libraries / components listed as COMPONENTS in your find_package(catkin REQUIRED ..) command. Python libraries are not build_depends, so you should not try to find them at build/configuration time.

Unless of course there are some native parts in them that need to get build, but I don't have any direct experience with that.