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Continuous Delivery

Once your ROS package is built, it needs to be deployed to customers. ROS on Windows leverages the Chocolatey Package manager for Delivery.

Chocolatey is an Open Source package manager for Windows, with a command line interface. Chocolatey packages are zip files which contain a descriptor - based on the Nuget Library manager. Once created, Packages are published to the Chocolatey package registry.

Sign up to Publish packages

Before you can publish packages, you need to acquire an API key from Chocolatey. To acquire an API key, you need to register for an account. Once you've registered for an account, you'll be assigned an API key, which you can assign to your local chocolatey install - and later as a Pipeline Secret.

You can associate the API Key with your chocolatey command line tool to publish with the following command line:

choco apikey --key xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx --source

Packaging collateral

To build a chocolatey package, the following files and structure is recommended in your repository. The files will be described later.

  • Repository Root
    • package
      • MyPackage.nuspec
      • build.bat
      • chocolateyInstall_template.ps1
      • tools
        • rosdepInstall.bat

Crafting a MyPackage.nuspec file

A Chocolatey package includes a xml descriptor of the package. Create a file in the package folder named after your ROS package, with the code contents of template.nuspec.

For example, if your ROS package is called MyCoolRobot, the file should be called MyCoolRobot.nuspec

Modify the properties of the XML file based on your specific requirements. For example:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<package xmlns="">
    <title>MyCoolRobot ROS package</title>
    <authors>Malcom Reynolds</authors>
    <description>MyCoolRobot for ROS on Windows.</description>
    <summary>MyCoolRobot packaged as a rosdep.</summary>
    <tags>ros MyCoolRobot</tags>

Adding install scripts

Create these files in the tools folder, and add the code contents of each. You can use these directly, or customize them for your project. Examples of customization include custom dependencies (like fetching and installing external Msi files).

Adding the build script

In the root of the package folder, add a file with the code contents of build.bat. Replace <ros package> with the name of your nuspec from above.

Testing the package

In later states, the pipelines will generate a zip file containing the output of your ROS package.

To simulate archive generation for testing, in your terminal window, change directory into the workspace containing your package, then build with install target.

Install 7zip using Chocolatey (You only need to do this the first time you try to build a package).

choco install 7zip




Coming Soon


cd install
7z a -tzip ..\src\<ros package>\package\tools\ *
cd ..\src\<ros package>\package
If this command succeeds, you will have two nupkg files - one for pre-release in output-pre, and one release package in output.

Install using the following command:

choco install output-pre\<ros package>.1.0.0.nupkg

Troubleshoot If the package fails to install correctly, the nupkg is a zip file. You can expand the zip file and examine the contents. Verify that names are spelled correctly and that the contents match. Once you find the error, you can recreate the package using build.bat, and reinstall using:

choco install output-pre\<ros package>.1.0.0.nupkg --force

NOTE: Chocolatey will remove the root folder of a zip based chocolatey package - which potentially includes other zip based packages. We recommend not uninstalling a chocolatey package for this reason.

Manually Publish a chocolatey package

choco push MyPackage.1.0.0.nupkg --source

Automatically generate chocolatey package during CI

Once you've crafted your nuspec and tested the installation, you can generate the chocolatey package during CI and publish it as a release.

Using AzureDevOps CI

If a file called build.bat is detected in the package directory of the repository, the pipeline will execute it. The chocolatey package will be generated and an artifact will be published.

The artifact can be downloaded by navigating to the build results and selecting the artifacts option under Related. The text for the option will be similar to 1 published; 1 consumed.

Updating Chocolatey rosdep mappings

Once your chocolatey package has been published, rosdep needs to be informed of how to find it. rosdep enumerates entries in package.xml, then uses a yaml mapping file to locate the package.

To update that mapping file, please follow these steps:

  • Fork ↗ into your github account
  • Create a file called 0-update.list in c:\opt\ros\melodic\x64\etc\ros\rosdep\sources.list.d
  • In this file, add a line which points to your fork:
    # os-specific listings first
    yaml<your github>/rosdistro-db/init_windows/rosdep/win-chocolatey.yaml windows
    yaml<your github>/rosdistro-db/init_windows/rosdep/vcpkg.yaml windows
  • Add a mapping from the dependency name used in the ROS package


        packages: [<python-package-name-in-pip>]
        depends: [<chocolatey dependencies which aren't specified in the package.xml>]
        packages: [<chocolatey-name>]

  • Update rosdeps on your computer.
    rosdep update
    rosdep install --from-paths src --ignore-src -r -y

You may encounder a warning about missing packages. On Windows some packages were collapsed into their metapackage hosting package due to differences in dependency behavior on Windows.