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Last node handle goes out of scope but callbacks still work. Why?

asked 2016-08-17 05:30:41 -0500

Dimitri Schachmann gravatar image

updated 2016-08-18 03:38:34 -0500

I thought I need to keep my node handle alive by storing it in my class member, but when I make it a local variable in my constructor and let it go out of scope, my callback still gets called.

Is this proper defined behavior?

#include <ros/ros.h>
#include <std_msgs/Int32.h>

class MyNode


        ros::NodeHandle nh; // will go out of scope
        subscriber = nh.subscribe("topic_name", 10, &MyNode::callback, this);


    void callback(std_msgs::Int32ConstPtr const & msg)
        ROS_ERROR_STREAM("Callback got called");

    // I thought this was mandatory
    // ros::NodeHandle nh;

    ros::Subscriber subscriber;


int main(int argc, char ** argv)
    ros::init(argc, argv, "my_node");
    MyNode node;
    return 0;


Here it says "when the last ros::NodeHandle is destroyed, it will call ros::shutdown()". Further down it is suggested, that ros::shutdown() will make ros::spin() return. So what's up with that?

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answered 2016-08-18 09:53:41 -0500

dseifert gravatar image

If you look at , the Subscriber keeps a copy/reference to the node handle. So as long as it exists, there is yet another referenced handle that will prevent the node to shut down.

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Asked: 2016-08-17 05:30:41 -0500

Seen: 387 times

Last updated: Aug 18 '16