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can i execute a launch file or run a node through RosWebTool

asked 2017-08-04 00:42:31 -0500

marine0131 gravatar image

updated 2017-08-04 00:43:46 -0500

i am now using roswebtool(roslibjs) to communicate with rosbridge

so i can publish topic and subscribe topic in website

now i want to remote execute a launch file or run a node in website, is that possible?

or is there any other method to run the node when i want to ?

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answered 2017-08-04 03:22:05 -0500

updated 2017-11-23 03:53:56 -0500


When you use roslibjs with rosbridge, your website is not a node, but it can be seen as a node (it just don't register with the rosmaster, so you can't see him with "rosnode list"). Rosbridge act as a proxy to use ROS functionnalities.

The easiest way to launch a remote process from your website is to use a process management library like std::system, boost::process or POCO , there are all available in ROS (POCO need this)

For an example with std::system (will quit the callback only when the process finish):

#include "ros/ros.h"
#include "std_msgs/String.h"
#include <sstream>

    void callback(std_msgs::String msg){
        std::stringstream ss;
        ss << "roslaunch " <<;
        std::system(ss.str().c_str());//std::system only accept c_str() a.k.a char*

    int main(int argc, char** argv){
        ros::NodeHandle n;
        ros::Subscriber sub = n.subscribe("/launch", 1, callback);
        return 0;

Just publish a string in the form "< package name > < launch file name >" and the launch file should be called

You also should be sure to source the correct environment BEFORE launch this node, if you try to launch a file from an another workspace (not sourced) or you create a package after launching this node, the loaded environmnent will not find the launch file.

And an example with POCO (with a run/kill procedure):

#include <ros/ros.h>
#include <std_msgs/String.h>
#include <std_msgs/Empty.h>
#include "Poco/Process.h"
#include <boost/algorithm/string/classification.hpp>
#include <boost/algorithm/string/split.hpp>

Poco::ProcessHandle* ph;
bool running = false;

void callback_run(std_msgs::String msg){
        std::vector<std::string> args;
        boost::split(args,, boost::is_any_of(" ") ); //Split the on space and save it to a vector
        Poco::ProcessHandle ph_running = Poco::Process::launch("roslaunch", args,0,0,0); //launch a new node
        ph = new Poco::ProcessHandle(ph_running); // Copy the processhandler to our global variable
        running = true; //Refuse new launch
        ROS_INFO_STREAM("launched : roslaunch" <<;
        ROS_ERROR("A process is already running.");

void callback_kill(std_msgs::Empty msg){
        Poco::Process::requestTermination(ph->id()); //send SIGINT
            Poco::Process::wait(*ph); //Wait for roslaunch to kill every node
        running = false;  //accept a new launch
        ROS_INFO("Killed process");
        ROS_ERROR("No Process are running.");

int main(int argc, char** argv){
    ros::init(argc, argv, "node_runner");
    ros::NodeHandle n;
    ros::Subscriber sub_run = n.subscribe("/run",100,callback_run);
    ros::Subscriber sub_kill = n.subscribe("/kill",100,callback_kill);
    return 0;

This example subscribe 2 topics : /run and /kill. Run will accept a node package a name (example : 'rqt_gui rqt_gui') and kill accept a std_msgs/Empty.

This need a little work, as the std::system example will block the subscriber (the function return only when the process die).

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thank you so so much, that works!!! there is anthoer question: how to stop this launch remote?

marine0131 gravatar image marine0131  ( 2017-08-06 22:26:08 -0500 )edit

I added an example with POCO to run and kill a process, it work with rosrun but not with roslaunch... I think roslaunch spawn multiple process and detach them, but I don't know how to kill them. If you find a solution I will be happy to see it :)

lmathieu gravatar image lmathieu  ( 2017-08-07 12:19:05 -0500 )edit

i use std::system start launch files and nodes. and kill the nodes the same way using "rosnode kill node" command. if i start a launch, i have to know or record which nodes are started, and kill them using nodekill,"rosnode kill node1 node2 node3"

marine0131 gravatar image marine0131  ( 2017-08-08 01:57:20 -0500 )edit

Nice, that work too. I found a way to do it with Poco, with the use of Poco::Process::requestTermination() instead of kill(), it send a SIGINT to the roslaunch and close all nodes launched.

lmathieu gravatar image lmathieu  ( 2017-08-08 03:30:19 -0500 )edit

great, so thanks

marine0131 gravatar image marine0131  ( 2017-08-08 04:05:01 -0500 )edit

Hello i just found this article. I would like to do the same as you, from a webpage. Do you mind sharing your final solution of this code for me? Did you manage to start/stop all kind of nodes? Thank you for your answer :)

molnardk gravatar image molnardk  ( 2017-11-15 04:36:00 -0500 )edit

Hi, yes I made some buttons to start/stop all kind of nodes, I write a service in robot to process the request of start/stop nodes, and use std:system to start node and use nodekill to stop node. you can also use @Imathieu 's method

marine0131 gravatar image marine0131  ( 2017-11-15 21:22:38 -0500 )edit

I will give a look, thank you :)

molnardk gravatar image molnardk  ( 2017-11-16 03:43:13 -0500 )edit

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Asked: 2017-08-04 00:42:31 -0500

Seen: 1,612 times

Last updated: Nov 23 '17