Sunday, September 29, 2013


It has been a while since posting, I figured I'd give an update on a project I've been working on recently: a ROS buildfarm using BuildBot.

Of course you are probably thinking, "but ROS already has a buildfarm?" And that is correct, however I found that it was quite hard to setup a personal instance of the Jenkins-based farm that builds ROS Debian packages. There is not all that much documentation, and extending it is not ideal for me as it uses an interesting mix of java-ish stuff.

Enter buildbot. Buildbot is like Jenkins, except completely written in Python, and I like Python. While buildbot doesn't have as many features and plugins as Jenkins, it has more than enough to get the job done. Anyways, I created a buildfarm  using buildbot + catkin, which can do the following:

  • Build Debians, just like on the ROS buildfarm. This includes doing it all in a cowbuilder so you know that the dependencies are right.
  • Build test jobs, similarly to the ROS buildfarm, whenever you push to a repository (only git is supported)
  • Build doc jobs, pretty much like the ROS buildfarm.
  • Build arbitrary source debs into binaries.
The system loads its configuration from a rosdistro file. In addition to loading what to build, I also have it setup to load where to get debs from in the rosdistro, making it easy to change deployment setup.

Buildbot-ROS is still quite early in development, but does most of the things that an individual or small team would need internally. The documentation is in the README, which gets nicely rendered by github. The code can be found on my github account: