csapex repository

Repository Summary

Checkout URI https://github.com/cogsys-tuebingen/csapex.git
VCS Type git
VCS Version master
Last Updated 2021-02-14
CI status No Continuous Integration
Tags No category tags.
Contributing Help Wanted (0)
Good First Issues (0)
Pull Requests to Review (0)


Name Version
csapex 1.0.0
csapex_core 1.0.0
csapex_core_test 1.0.0
csapex_qt 1.0.0
csapex_remote 1.0.0
csapex_testing 1.0.0
csapex_util 1.0.0


CS::APEX (Algorithm Prototyper and EXperimentor for Cognitive Systems)

GitHub Actions status

CS::APEX is a framework based on synchronous dataflow and event-based message passing that aims to speed up prototyping of new robotic algorithms using visual programming aspects.

Example workflow: (click to show the video)

Graph Construction Video

Dataflow Graph and Core Features

Calculations are represented by a nodes in a directed graph with data flowing on the directed edges.This execution graph is manipulated using a simple graphical user interface that allows spawning and deleting nodes, adding and removing edges and visualizating data in the stream. To speed up the prototyping process, other features like undo/redo mechanisms and profiling are implemented as well. Finally there exists an easy to use parameter system that generates UI controls for each block and allows parameter tuning and optimization.

Functionality via Plug-ins

The framework itself does not provide any predefined computation nodes and does not depend on specific message definitions or node types. These details are instead implemented in plug-in libraries that extend the functionality of the whole system.

Application to Robotics

The framework is targeted toward use in robotics and is fully compatible with ROS. Configurations generated using the GUI can directly be deployed on any ROS-based robotic system.

Tutorials and more Information

For more information, please refer to the Wiki at (https://github.com/cogsys-tuebingen/csapex/wiki

the official website at (http://www.ra.cs.uni-tuebingen.de/forschung/apex

or contact the maintainers via email.


We rely on the catkin build system developed in the ROS ecosystem. The core framework is independent of ROS, however.

Required for a build are:

  • Linux system (tested with Ubuntu)
  • CMake >= 3.8.2
  • C++17 compatible compiler (g++, clang++)
  • Qt5 (on Ubuntu: qt5-default libqt5svg5-dev)
  • libraries:
    • boost (program_options, filesystem, system)
    • classloader
    • TinyXML (on Ubuntu: libtinyxml-dev)
    • yaml-cpp (on Ubuntu: libyaml-cpp-dev)

These dependencies can be installed via rosdep (see below.)

Basic Installation

To get the cs::APEX framework and a set of core plugins, perform the following:

cd ~
mkdir -p ws/csapex/src
cd ws/csapex/src

git clone https://github.com/cogsys-tuebingen/csapex.git

cd csapex/plugins
git clone https://github.com/cogsys-tuebingen/csapex_core_plugins.git

cd ../..
mkdir libs
cd libs

git clone https://github.com/cogsys-tuebingen/cslibs_vision.git
git clone https://github.com/cogsys-tuebingen/cslibs_laser_processing.git
git clone https://github.com/cogsys-tuebingen/cslibs_arff.git
git clone https://github.com/cogsys-tuebingen/cslibs_indexed_storage.git

cd ../..
rosdep install -y -r -i --from-paths src

Creating Documenation

To create the documentation, run

doxygen doc/Doxyfile

This will generate the documentation at



All contributions are welcome, please refer to the CONTRIBUTING.md file.


How to contribute

We are glad about contributions in any way, shape, or form. If you have patches or new features, please consider creating a merge request. We are also always happy to hear about projects in which you have implemented your own plug-ins.

Changes to the Core Framework

On a case-by-case basis we have to decide on whether to merge new branches or whether to create preliminary topic branches for them. Trivial changes are also always welcome.


Most contributions to the cs::APEX ecosphere should be in the form of plug-ins that do not need extensions to the main framework. If you see the need for changes anyhow, please consider letting us now early, since the project is still under development and many internals do not yet have a stable API.

Reporting Issues

We appreciate every posted issue for any kind of bug, failed assertion or usability issue, as well as in the form of ideas and suggestions.