RobWorkProject  6.6.6

Table of Contents


RobWork uses several external libraries such as Boost, Xerces and for RobWorkStudio also Qt. Furthermore, RobWork is developed for multiple platforms (Linux, Win7/xp MinGW, Mac, and Win7/xp Visual Studio) which sometimes complicates the installation.

Here you find articles that describe how to install RobWork or compile RobWork and the dependencies on several different platforms.

Installing RobWork SDK

The quickest installation obtained through the provided SDK packages for Ubuntu (Debian packages) and Windows (NSIS installers). The Debian packages automatically install all dependencies and the NSIS installers contain headers and precompiled libraries for all dependencies. These SDKs are suitable for users who want to get started quickly with the development of RobWork and RobWorkStudio plugins.

Please look at the download section on the homepage for downloading the SDK packages.

Installing RobWork from source

This section will explain how to install RobWork from source. Several platforms and compilers are supported and one should look for the description including he's platform.

RobWork is basically multiple projects

Naturally all projects depend on the core functionality of RobWork, however if functioanlity in RobWorkSim or RobWorkStudio is not necesary then one does not need to install/compile it. So one can download project sources individually and compile them or download all of it and compile it all together. The latter is the easiest approach.

Downloading the source

RobWork source is made available through half year releases and SVN. The source releases can be downloaded from the RobWork homepage.

You can get the latest developer snapshot of the RobWork source code from SVN using this account:

Username: Guest

For svn use the complete project:

Complete SVN repository:

or one of the specific project folders:

Since the trunk is actively developed there might be bugs or compile issues in the source. Therefore check out the nightly builds on our cdash servers, these should indicate any problems there might be on the different supported platforms.

The trunk is compiled nightly with several different compilers on both 32 and 64 bit platforms (Ubuntu Linux, Windows XP and Windows 7). The status of these builds is submitted to the following dashboards which enable users to keep track of broken builds:

Installation instructions for the complete project

Download (from homepage or svn) the complete RobWork-project and place it in a directory of your choice. Lets call this directory RWPROJECTROOT.

The build system in RobWork is based on cmake which enables the support for several platforms and compilers. Pleace download and install cmake from CMake. The top cmake file is placed at "RWPROJECTROOT/CMakeLists.txt" and a common approach to compiling the project is:

cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release -G"MinGW Makefiles" .

This will make an in-source build which is fine if you only need the project for a specific build type or compiler. A slightly nicer approach is to create a subdirectory say "buildrelease" in which you compile the project

mkdir buildrelease
cd buildrelease
cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release -G"MinGW Makefiles" ..

now all files generated in the compilation will be contained in "buildrelease" directory.

You can customize the build using -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release or -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Debug, changing options in the gui with ccmake (linux) or CMakeSetup.exe (windows), and you can edit the build configuration files

This however should not be necessary unless you want to specifically force disabling a component such as LUA or if you need to specify a variable explicitly such as BOOST_ROOT.

Installation instructions for specific projects

Download and install the RobWork and RobWorkStudio packages and place them both in single directory of your choice. Uncompress the packages.

Building of RobWork and RobWorkStudio is supported on multiple platforms thanks to the CMake build system which you should install.

To customize the build process add and edit the following two files:

Templates with suggested contents for the above two files are included in the packages:

To construct a build setup for the compiler of your choice, you must run CMake from the root of the RobWork and RobWorkStudio directories. The CMake command will be of the form

cmake -G <generator name>

where <generator name> is the name of the compilation system for which the build setup should be constructed. Examples of generated build setups are makefiles for GCC and project files for Microsoft Visual Studio. See the sections below for compiler specific examples.

Using the generated build setup to first build RobWork and then RobWorkStudio. Executables and libraries are by default written to the libs and bin subdirectories of the RobWork and RobWorkStudio directories. To link your own programs with the RobWork system, you must add the RobWork/libs and RobWorkStudio/libs directories to the compiler linker path and the RobWork/src and RobWorkStudio/src directories to the include path.

You can test that RobWork has been built correctly by running the generated program named TestSuite from the root of the RobWork/test directory.

The RobWorkStudio program looks for files named RobWorkStudio.ini and CustomRobWorkStudio.ini in the current working directory. A template file RobWorkStudio/bin/RobWorkStudio.ini_template shows suggested contents for the RobWorkStudio.ini file. Start the RobWorkStudio program and try opening a workcell file like for example RobWork/docs/workcell.wu.

Dependencies of RobWork

RobWork uses several external libraries such as Boost, Xerces and for RobWorkStudio Qt. Furthermore, RobWork is developed for multiple platforms (GCC, MinGW and Visual Studio) which sometimes complicates the installation.

In this section you find guides to install these dependencies on your specific platform.

Installing dependencies on linux (Ubuntu)

For RobWork core, the following is needed:

using apt-get this is:

sudo apt-get install gcc g++ cmake libatlas-base-dev libxerces-c3.1 libxerces-c-dev libboost-dev libboost-date-time-dev libboost-filesystem-dev libboost-program-options-dev libboost-regex-dev libboost-serialization-dev libboost-system-dev libboost-test-dev libboost-thread-dev swig

For RobWorkStudio additional libraries are needed: qt4-dev-tools, libqt4-dev, qt4-designer (optional)

sudo apt-get install qt4-dev-tools libqt4-dev qt4-designer

And if RobWorkSim is required then installing the Open Dynamics Engine is strongly recommended.

RobWorkHardware is a bit more difficult because more or less all packages depend on some specific driver, software library or platform.

Installing dependencies on windows with Visual Studio

For RobWork core functionality the following is needed:

Cmake can be downloaded and installed from CMake.

Precompiled versions of Xerces can be downloaded from For Visual Studio 2005, 2008 and 2010 you need to select vc8, vc9 and vc10, respectively. Remember to update the environment variable XERCES_ROOT to the Xerces-C++ root path containing the include and lib folders.

To make life easier, we have created precompiled versions of Boost for Visual Studio. The compressed files contain precompiled libraries for both debug and release variants for all supported Visual Studio compilers (2005, 2008 and 2010).

You may install Boost wherever you like. Create a new environment variable BOOST_ROOT containing the path to the Boost installation and Boost should be ready to use.

A more complete binary installer for various boost versions can be found on BoostPro . Make sure to choose the MultiThreaded libs on install.

Alternatively download Boost from and compile it your self. When configuring make sure to enable all packages, something like:

bjam --with-date_time --with-filesystem --with-program_options --with-regex --with-serialization
--with-system --with-test --with-thread --prefix=. --layout=tagged toolset=YOUR_TOOLSET install

SWIG can be downloaded and installed from SWIG. Please specify the path to SWIG in the RobWork.cmake eg. SET(SWIG_EXECUTABLE path_to_swig_exe_including_file)

For RobWorkStudio additional libraries are needed

Visual Studio 2008 32 bit
The Qt libraries for Visual Studio 2008 32 bit are prebuilt and therefore no compilation is needed. Download Qt libraries for Windows (VS 2008) from under the Framework Only section. The Visual Studio Add-in can be found on the same page under Other Downloads.

First install the Qt libraries and then the Visual Studio Add-in. When installed, create an environment variable QTDIR with the value c:/qt/VERSION and add c:/qt/VERSION/bin to the PATH environment variable where c:/qt/VERSION is the installation directory.

Visual Studio 2005-2010 x86|amd64
Unfortunately Qt does not have a binary distribution for Visual Studio 2005 and 2010. You therefore need to download the source and compile Qt yourself. Go to the Qt download page at Choose the open source LGPL version and download the source code (zip or tar.gz) under the Framework Only section and extract the archive. Assuming you have extracted the Qt source into c:/Qt/VERSION, follow these steps:

Qt Visual Studio Add-in:

You are now ready to build Qt applications with Visual Studio. If you have problems compiling, please visit: for further information.

RobWorkHardware is a bit more difficult because more or less all packages depend on some specific driver, software library or platform.

Installing dependencies on windows with MinGW

TODO: add mingw installation description. NOT CURRENTLY SUPPORTED