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Any How-To for releasing an official ROS package?

asked 2020-06-01 03:18:29 -0500

mmrm gravatar image

I have read through http://wiki.ros.org/Get%20Involved as well as the links on it, but they don't give a black and white answer as to whether:

  1. Automated tests are required (ie, unit tests, integration tests, etc)
  2. Code reviews will be done prior submission of a release package

For (1), I was thinking it is required, however, I do find existing official packages without unit test frameworks.

Reason for this post is, due to timeline constraints, I wanted to know the "minimal" requirements needed for "officially releasing a ROS package", where "minimal" is less than the requirements of an "ideal" or "highly recommended."

Note: ROS package concerned is ROS1 Melodic, for Ubuntu 18.04.

Please advise.

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Could you clarify what you mean by "official ROS package"? ROS is a community project, but you seem to imply that there are packages which are special in that project, in that they are considered official.

gvdhoorn gravatar image gvdhoorn  ( 2020-06-01 04:26:09 -0500 )edit

Hi @gvdhoorn, by "official ROS package", I meant those which are already Indexed as part of ROS packages itself, and has been released via bloom. To be more specific, I meant "official ROS package" as those available at https://www.ros.org/browse/list.php.

mmrm gravatar image mmrm  ( 2020-06-01 04:32:59 -0500 )edit

So over 90% of that list is community contributed. The fact they are released through Bloom does not make them official. It just means the author(s)/maintainer(s) ha(s)(ve) made the effort to make them available as binary packages in a certain ROS distribution.

Some people assume the packages maintained/released by OR are official, and while they are certainly core packages and almost always used, I don't consider them any more official than others.

gvdhoorn gravatar image gvdhoorn  ( 2020-06-01 04:39:06 -0500 )edit

As to https://www.ros.org/browse/list.php: you may want to use the ROS Index instead. It contains almost the same list of packages, but much more information about each of them.

gvdhoorn gravatar image gvdhoorn  ( 2020-06-01 07:03:58 -0500 )edit

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answered 2020-06-01 04:48:02 -0500

gvdhoorn gravatar image

updated 2020-06-02 03:07:59 -0500

I meant those which are already Indexed as part of ROS packages itself, and has been released via bloom. To be more specific, I meant "official ROS package" as those available at https://www.ros.org/browse/list.php.

being released with Bloom and having binary packages built does not make a package an official one.

It just means the author/maintainer have gone through the process of following the wizard and providing the convenience of being able to apt install their package(s) (or equivalent command on other OS).

For ROS 1, there aren't any requirements on specific tests, (static) analysis or quality metrics. There are best-practices and nice-to-haves, but no thresholds or quality gates. Releasing a package is at the sole discretion of the author, relying on his or her skill and experience as to which level of quality he or she would be able to achieve.

(this seems like a free-for-all, and it sort-of is, but it's very likely a package will not see many users, nor much usage, if it doesn't live up to the expectations about quality which potential users will have. In a way, it's a survival of the fittest approach)

There is something which could be considered an "official list" of packages though, which would be REP-150: ROS Melodic and Newer Metapackages (and the earlier versions of that REP). That REP lists the packages which are to be considered part of the default set of packages which come with the various ROS variants for a specific version of ROS (ros-core, ros-base and desktop-full fi).

However, there is still no hard quality gating for those packages (but they are expected to have reached a certain quality, if only by their age).

For ROS 2, this is different.

While there are still no gates or thresholds which bar releasing a package, there are guidelines and even requirements documented which outline when a package author/developer may claim a certain quality level. Those are described in REP 2004: Package Quality Categories:

This REP describes a set of categories meant to convey the quality or maturity of packages in the ROS ecosystem. Inclusion in a category, or quality level, is based on the policies to which a package adheres. The categories address version, change control, documentation, testing, dependency and platform support policies.

Again: releasing is up to the package author/maintainer, but claiming a package (or set of packages) to have reached a certain level of quality is testable against the requirements given in REP-2004.

(note: many of the requirements are subjective, so if you expected KPIs such as maximum cyclomatic complexity, you will not find those in the REP. Having tests, and which kind, and what the readme should contain, how vulnerability disclosure is handled is part of the REP, so it focuses a bit more on process than on hard, machine verifiable metrics)


Edit:

is there a rule that says all REP 2xxx are applicable only for ROS2 somehow?

No, I ... (more)

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Note that there were questions about using/applying REP-2004 to ROS 1 packages as well.

While I don't believe there would be anything very ROS 2 specific about the requirements in REP-2004, it wasn't written with ROS 1 in mind.

gvdhoorn gravatar image gvdhoorn  ( 2020-06-01 04:58:33 -0500 )edit

Thank you @gvdhoorn. From your answer, I can extract that releasing via bloom is a separate topic from making the package available at https://www.ros.org/browse/list.php. With this, I would like to clear out that my intent at least for this question, is make my ROS1 package available at https://www.ros.org/browse/list.php.

And from what I can understand from your answer, unlike ROS2 with REPs even, there are no Quality or Test-related requirements related to making my ROS1 package available at https://www.ros.org/browse/list.php. Such requirements are discretionary to me as the developer. This means, as a developer, I can make do with just build tests and manual tests using actual hardware and gazebo simulation and still able to submit (and pass) for inclusion at https://www.ros.org/browse/list.php, even without unit test and integration ...(more)

mmrm gravatar image mmrm  ( 2020-06-01 05:07:13 -0500 )edit

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Oh. But is there a rule that says all REP 2xxx are applicable only for ROS2 somehow?

mmrm gravatar image mmrm  ( 2020-06-01 05:11:21 -0500 )edit

It would be good if you could provide a little more context.

I could just write "yes" or "no", but without more context, such answers have a tendency to be misinterpreted.

Are you asking in general, or with a certain purpose or context in mind?

gvdhoorn gravatar image gvdhoorn  ( 2020-06-01 05:11:21 -0500 )edit

Hmm. It's just that I thought there would a bit of a "hard rule" on the requirements as to making the package qualified to be under https://www.ros.org/browse/list.php, especially on the Quality/Tests aspect. Specific context is, I plan to release a package, and I'm not sure if I'm even allowed to submit or it will be rejected as soon as they see that my package doesn't have test codes. I can't draft a project schedule not knowing this (I don't have unit/integration tests at the moment). That black and white judgment is what I'd like to know, if possible. Have you submitted a package to https://www.ros.org/browse/list.php before?

mmrm gravatar image mmrm  ( 2020-06-01 05:18:36 -0500 )edit

Additionally, at http://wiki.ros.org/Quality/Tutorials..., I saw a line saying "This is why, when you are contributing code to ROS, whether bug fixes, or new features, you have to include automatic unit tests. Unit tests are a required step in our QA process."

However, I saw lots of packages under the https://www.ros.org/browse/list.php without test codes. So now I'm confused what is really the rule for ROS1 regarding automated tests.

mmrm gravatar image mmrm  ( 2020-06-01 05:23:54 -0500 )edit

Thanks so much for all the details @gvdhoorn. Everything is clear to me now, I get the whole picture and the info that I need. :)

mmrm gravatar image mmrm  ( 2020-06-01 22:07:15 -0500 )edit

No problem.

gvdhoorn gravatar image gvdhoorn  ( 2020-06-02 02:44:38 -0500 )edit

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Asked: 2020-06-01 03:11:36 -0500

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Last updated: Jun 02