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Is there a tool that allows for the introspection of a launch file? If not, is there a demand for one?

I have found that when reading through a new package I have to manually keep track of launch files that include other launch files that include other launch files, etc. Combine the nesting of launch files with the passing of args through the launch files and I start to become very lost.

So, I was wondering if there are tools to help me visualize launch files and perhaps give out some nicely formatted data such as rosrun tf view_frames and tells me what the nodes, params, args, and included files are for the launch file (and even going into the included files and doing the same).

I am aware of the following tools:

  • rqt_launch: this doesn't give out the information that I'm looking for, or if it does it makes it hard to find
  • rxdeveloper: this is for Ubuntu 10.04 and ROS Fuerte so this won't work either

I'm hoping for something to be as simple to run as rosrun introspection-tool inspect somefile.launch and to be given some analysis of somefile.launch.

Originally posted by jayess on ROS Answers with karma: 6155 on 2017-07-27

Post score: 0


2 Answers 2


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For introspection purpose rqt_launchtree might give you some/all features you're looking for.

sudo apt-get install ros-indigo-rqt-launchtree

Afterwards, start rqt (you might need to pass --force-discover the first time) and select the plugin from the Plugins menu. You find it in the Configuration folder as Launch Tree.
Source: rqt_launchtree

UPDATE Given that there are multiple GUI packages for launch, including the one @jayess found, I've listed those packages here.

Originally posted by 130s with karma: 10937 on 2017-07-27

This answer was ACCEPTED on the original site

Post score: 3

Original comments

Comment by jayess on 2017-07-27:
Excellent! This is pretty close to what I'm looking for, although the layout is a little overwhelming (at least at first). I'll take some time before accepting this seeing as you were so quick to answer.


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Although I believe that @130s's answer is the best that I've seen for my situation, another good visualization/introspection tool for launch files is roslaunch_to_dot. It does some really nice visualization of the different nodes, args, params, etc. of launch files (shown below) and you can specify what format you want (PDF, PNG, and SVG). However, it is command line based and I was looking for something with a GUI. Here's the output of the example given in the README:

example output from README

Note: this is ROS independent.

Originally posted by jayess with karma: 6155 on 2017-07-31

This answer was NOT ACCEPTED on the original site

Post score: 2


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