pygazebo 3.0.0-2014.1

Yesterday I pushed the release of the newest version of pygazebo to github, 3.0.0-2014.1. This version has two big changes, the first is that I’ve updated all the message bindings for gazebo 3.0.0, which gets two new messages, CameraCmd and SphericalCoordinates. The second, and larger change, is a switch from eventlet to trollius for asynchronous coroutine operation.

trollius is an implementation of the python3 asyncio/tulip library for python2. It is largely API compatible, with the biggest exception being that as a library, trollius can’t support the new python3 “yield from” syntax. pygazebo internally uses an API compatible subset.

The biggest reasons to switch were:

  • Explicit control flow: In the asyncio model, the only ways of yielding control are by returning from a function, or “yield”ing from a coroutine. This means that you can reason locally about whether synchronization is appropriate, even when calling other methods.
  • Integration with other event loops: While eventlet was nominally capable of being integrated with other event loops, in practice it wasn’t very easy and no one did it. The best integration strategy was usually to poll at a high frequency in another event loop and pump the eventlet loop. asyncio already has a draft event loop to interoperate with GLib (gbulb), and writing a basic one to interoperate with QT was not challenging.
  • Unit test coverage: Eventlet (and other greenlet based systems) had a long-standing issue where most python unit test systems could not accurately track test coverage. trollius and asyncio seem to work just fine here.

The new release is on github and pypi, so a newer pygazebo is only a “pip install pygazebo” away.