Setup a new Workspace

This use-case describes how to setup a new ROS workspace using scripts from the ROS Team Workspace (RosTeamWS) framework. Besides the creation of a local workspace, creation of a Ubuntu-based docker container is supported. For more details have a look below in the Docker workspace section.

Local workspace

The setup-ros-workspace command creates a new workspace in the current folder. If you supply a path relative to your home directory, the workspace is created there.

Usage of the script for setting up a new ROS workspace.
setup-ros-workspace WS_FOLDER ROS_DISTRO

All parameters are optional but they are positional. If you want to omit any of the input parameters use "-" as argument. The script creates a new ROS workspace with name <WS_FOLDER> in <CURRENT_WORKING_DIRECTORY>/<WS_FOLDER>. However if you pass a folder name relative to your $HOME directory, like for example: setup-ros-workspace ~/<WS_FOLDER> ROS_DISTRO, then a new workspace is created inside $HOME/<WS_FOLDER>. The passed ROS distribution <ROS_DISTRO> is sourced as base if no other workspace is sourced. After the workspace has been created, you have to open a new terminal and can then type the new created alias _<WS_FOLDER>. This is going to source the new workspace and you can then switch to its root|source|install|build folders by executing respectively rosd|rosds|rosdi|rosdb.


Example usage of the script for setting up a new ROS workspace.
setup-ros-workspace subfolder/my_new_workspace rolling

Creates in the current folder a subfolder subfolder and then creates a new workspace called my_new_workspace. Opening a new terminal and executing _my_new_workspace is going to source this workspace.

Default value for <WS_FOLDER> is “workspace”.

Docker workspace

How to setup a workspace inside a docker container.
setup-ros-workspace-docker WS_FOLDER ROS_DISTRO

Like the setup-ros-workspace script, the setup-ros-workspace-docker script creates a new local ROS workspace. Then a Ubuntu docker container is built and the new created workspace is mounted inside the docker container under the same directory as in the host. The first time a docker container is built can take quite a while. When the first build is finished you are directly connected as user inside the container. You can verify this by checking if your hostname has changed. To exit a container simply type the exit command.

Reconnect to a container

If you exited a container and want to reconnect as a user, you have to run the rtw_switch_to_docker command. However before executing this, you have to source your workspace with the alias _<WS_FOLDER>. If you want to connect as a root user, you can execute rtw_switch_to_docker_root.

Recreate a container

If you removed an image, you can recreate it by switching into the .rtw_docker_defines folder inside your workspace and then executing the ./ command. After the process is finished you should be able to normally start, reconnect and stop the container.


For more general questions on the usage of docker and the limitations of RosTeamWS in interacting with docker, have a look at our docker related docs.

CLI overview

Overview of the cli




Creates a new workspace and maps the workspace inside a docker container. You can then switch to docker using rtw_switch_to_docker.


Starts the docker container if it has been stopped and connects to the container as user.


Starts the docker container if it has been stopped and connects to the container as root-user.


Stops the docker container.