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We have developed several tools for interacting with rviz. However, those tools are, in the end, providing "one" functionality (think of: add object, move object, delete object).

Thus, to streamline this and make the rviz interface cleaner, I'd like to have all those tools not as buttons on the toolbar, but on a panel.

Is this doable with rviz::Tool? Or does this require to load them to the toolbar?

Originally posted by mgruhler on ROS Answers with karma: 12390 on 2017-01-11

Post score: 0


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It's been a while since I did this (or even looked at the code), but I created a tool that I load/unload programmatically for a corresponding custom Display. Something to be aware of is that the tool currently in use is system-wide, so loading/unloading needs to be handled appropriately.

In a Panel, you can access the ToolManager from the protected VisualizationManager member:

ToolManager* toolManager = vis_manager_->tool_manager_;

See the ToolManager API for further functionality. Note that this is for Indigo; things may be different for other ROS versions.

Edit: given the ToolManager* (I'll call it tMan for brevity) and tool class name (tClassName), loading is:


Assume you have a reference to a Tool* tool; to make it the active tool:


That will take care of switching tools for you; unloading a tool is akin to removing it from the tool panel (which you likely don't need to do).

Note that actually bookkeeping the tools is a pain. As far as I know, you need to use the class name; something like:

Tool* curTool = tMan->getCurrentTool();
if (curTool && curTool->getClassId() == tClassName) {

But just doing tMan->setCurrentTool(tool) will deactivate the old and activate the new. Hope that helps some.

Originally posted by kramer with karma: 1470 on 2017-01-12

This answer was ACCEPTED on the original site

Post score: 2

Original comments

Comment by mgruhler on 2017-01-13:
Thanks for answering, I'll try it out soon

With the toolManager I can then load this tool, in effect calling the activate() function of this tool? This would be exactly what I was looking for.

What about a tool (say, SendGoal) which is active at this moment. Do I need to manually unload this?

Comment by kramer on 2017-01-14:
'Cuz it's (somewhat) complicated text to put in a comment, I'm editing my answer with some extra code.

Comment by mgruhler on 2017-01-16:
@kramer thank you so much for the in depth answer. This helped me a lot and a quick proof-of-concept seems to work. I'll update if I stumble upon any issues worth noting. So far, I'll consider this answered.


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