iceoryx repository

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VCS Type git
VCS Version release_1.0
Last Updated 2021-04-15
CI status No Continuous Integration
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iceoryx - true zero-copy inter-process-communication

Build & Test Integrationtests Gitter License Codecov Sanitize


Great that you've made it to this little Eclipse project! Let's get you started by providing a quick background tour, introducing the project scope and all you need for installation and a first running example.

So first off: What is iceoryx?

iceoryx is an inter-process-communication (IPC) middleware for various operating systems (currently we support Linux, MacOS and QNX). It has its origins in the automotive industry, where large amounts of data have to be transferred between different processes when it comes to driver assistance or automated driving systems. However, the efficient communication mechanisms can also be applied to a wider range of use cases, e.g. in the field of robotics or game development.

iceoryx uses a true zero-copy, shared memory approach that allows to transfer data from publishers to subscribers without a single copy. This ensures data transmissions with constant latency, regardless of the size of the payload. For more information have a look at the 1000 words iceoryx introduction

You're right, middleware is a cluttered term and can somehow be all or nothing, so let's talk about the goals and non-goals of iceoryx.

It's all about the API?!

Don't get too frighten of the API when strolling through the codebase. Think of iceoryx's API as a "plumbing" one ("plumbing" as defined in Git, which means low-level). We're not using the "plumbing" API ourselves, but instead a typed API. The normal use case is that iceoryx is integrated as high-performance IPC transport layer in a bigger framework with additional API layers. An example for such a "porcelain" API would be ROS2. Others are listed in the next section.

You can find the full API documentation on 🌐

Where is Eclipse iceoryx used?

Framework Description
ROS2 Eclipse iceoryx can be used inside the robot operating system with rmw_iceoryx
eCAL Open-source framework from Continental AG supporting pub/sub and various message protocols
RTA-VRTE Adaptive AUTOSAR platform software framework for vehicle computer from ETAS GmbH
Cyclone DDS Performant and robust open-source DDS implementation maintained by ADLINK Technology Inc.
Apex.OS Safe and certified software framework for autonomous mobility systems from Apex.AI

Build and install

You can find the build and installation guidelines here.


After you've built all the necessary things, you can continue playing around with the examples.

Build and run in a Docker environment

If you want to avoid installing anything on your host machine but you have Docker installed, it is possible to use it to build and run iceoryx applications.

Please see the dedicated for information on how to do this.


Targeted quality levels & platforms

Quality level are 5 to 1, where 1 is highest level.

CMake project/target QNX Linux, Windows, MacOS Comment
iceoryx_examples 5 5 All example code in this folder
iceoryx_binding_c 4 4 Not final and can change in the near future
iceoryx_dds 4 4
iceoryx_meta 5 5
iceoryx_posh 1, 2 4 Will be split into separate targets
iceoryx_utils 1 4
iceoryx_introspection 5 5

Is something missing or you've got ideas for other nifty examples? Jump right away to the next section!


Please refer to the for a quick read-up about what to consider if you want to contribute.

Planned features

Get to know the upcoming features and the project scope in

Innovations enabled by iceoryx

Name Description Technologies
Larry.Robotics An iceoryx demonstrator for tinker, thinker and toddler Demonstrator
iceoryx-rs Experimental Rust wrapper for iceoryx Rust
IceRay An iceoryx introspection client written in Rust Rust

Governance & maintainers

Please have a look at the


Contributing to Eclipse iceoryx

Thanks for your interest in this project.

Project description

In domains like automotive, robotics or gaming, a huge amount of data must be transferred between different parts of the system. If these parts are actually different processes on a POSIX based operating system like Linux, this huge amount of data has to be transferred via an inter-process-communication (IPC) mechanism. Find more infos on the Eclipse site.

Eclipse Contributor Agreement

Before your contribution can be accepted by the project team, contributors must electronically sign the Eclipse Contributor Agreement (ECA).

Commits that are provided by non-committers must have a Signed-off-by field in the footer indicating that the author is aware of the terms by which the contribution has been provided to the project. The non-committer must additionally have an Eclipse Foundation account and must have a signed Eclipse Contributor Agreement (ECA) on file.

For more information, please see the Eclipse Committer Handbook.


Contact the project developers via the project's "dev" list.

Feature request and bugs

We love pull requests! The next sections try to cover most of the relevant questions. For larger contributions or architectural changes, we'd kindly ask you to either:


  • Create a design document and raise it in a separate pull request beforehand

If you would like to report a bug or propose a new feature, please raise an issue before raising a pull request. Please have a quick search upfront if a similar issue already exists. An release board is used to prioritize the issues for a specific release. This makes it easier to track the work-in-progress. If you have troubles getting an issue assigned to you please contact the maintainers via Gitter.

Please make sure you have:

  1. Signed the Eclipse Contributor Agreement
  2. Created an issue before creating a branch, e.g. Super duper feature with issue number 123
  3. All branches have the following naming format: iox-#[issue]-branch-name e.g. iox-#123-super-duper-feature
  4. All commits have the following naming format: iox-#[issue] commit message e.g. iox-#123 implemented super-duper feature
  5. All commits have been signed with git commit -s
  6. You open your pull request towards the base branch staging
  7. Link the pull request to the according Github issue and set the label accordingly

Coding style

We love the C++ core guidelines. If in doubt please try to follow them as well as our unwritten conventions in the existing parts of the code base. Please format your code with the provided clang-format and clang-tidy before raising a pull request. Lots of IDEs do read the clang-format file these days.

We created some convenient rules to highlight some bits that you might not be used to in other FOSS projects. They are helpful to build embedded systems for safety fields like automotive or avionics. It is possible that not the whole codebase follows these rules, things are work in progress.

1) No heap is allowed, static memory management hugely decreases the complexity of your software (e.g. cxx::vector without heap) 2) No exceptions are allowed, all function and methods need to have noexcept in their signature 3) No undefined behavior, zero-cost abstract is not feasible in high safety environments 4) Use C++14 5) Rule of Five, if there is a non-default destructor needed, the rule of five has to be applied 6) STL, we aim to be compatible towards the STL, but our code may contain additions which are not compatible with the STL (e.g. iox::cxx::vector::emplace_back() does return a bool) 7) Always use iox::log::Logger, instead of printf() 8) Always use iox::ErrorHandler(), when an error occurs that cannot or shall not be propagated via an iox::cxx::expected, the iox::ErrorHandler() shall be used; exceptions are not allowed

See for additional information about logging and error handling.

Naming conventions

  • File names with lower_snake_case: my_thing.hpp
  • Structs, classes and enum classes in UpperCamelCase: class MyClass{}
  • Methods and variables in lowerCamelCase: uint16_t myVariable
  • Compile time constants, also enum values in UPPER_SNAKE_CASE: static constexpr uint16_t MY_CONSTANT
  • Class members start with m_: m_myMember
    • Public members of structs and classes do not have the m_ prefix
  • Namespaces in lower_snake_case : my_namespace
  • Aliases have a _t postfix : using FooString_t = iox::cxx::string<100>;


Please use doxygen to document your code.

The following doxygen comments are required for public API headers:

    /// @brief short description
    /// @param[in] / [out] / [in,out] name description
    /// @return description

A good example for code formatting and doxygen structure is at (WIP)

Folder structure

The folder structure boils down to:

  • iceoryx_COMPONENT
    • cmake: All cmakes files go here, needed for find_pkg()
    • doc: Manuals and documentation
    • include: public headers with stable API
    • internal: public headers with unstable API, which might change quite frequently
    • source: implementation files
    • test: unit and integration tests
    • CMakeLists.txt: Build the component separately
  • examples_iceoryx: Examples described in iceoryx_examples

All new code should follow the folder structure.

How to add a new example

  1. Add the example in the "List of all examples"
  2. Create a new file in doc/website/getting-started/examples/ This file shall only set the title and include the readme from ./iceoryx_examples/foobar/
  3. Add the example folder name into the EXAMPLES=${EXAMPLES} ... array in ./tools/
  4. Add an add_subdirectory directive into iceoryx_meta/CMakeLists.txt in the if(EXAMPLES) section.
  5. Add integration test for example


We use Google test for our unit and integration tests. We require compatibility with the version 1.8.1.

Have a look at our best practice guidelines for writing tests and installation guide for contributors for building them.

Unit tests (aka module tests)

Unit tests are black box tests that test the public interface of a class. They are required for all new code.

Integration tests

Integration tests are composition of more than one class and test their interaction. They are optional for new code.

Coverage Scan

To ensure that the provided testcode covers the productive code you can do a coverage scan with gcov. The reporting is done with lcov and htmlgen. You will need to install the following packages:

sudo apt install lcov

In iceoryx we have multiple testlevels for testcoverage: 'unit', 'integration', 'component' and ’all’ for all testlevels together. You can create reports for these different testlevels or for all tests. Coverage is done with gcc. The coverage scan applies to Quality level 3 and partly level 2 with branch coverage.

For having a coverage report iceoryx needs to be compiled with coverage flags and the tests needs to be executed. You can do this with one command in iceroyx folder like this:

./tools/ clean build-all -c <testlevel>

Optionally you can use build-all option to get coverage for extensions like DDS or C-Binding. The -c flag indicates that you want to have a coverage report and you can pass there the needed testlevel. Per default the testlevel is set to 'all'. example:

./tools/ debug build-all -c unit

NOTE Iceoryx needs to be built as static library for working with gcov flags. The script does it automatically.

The flag -c unit is for having only reports for unit-tests. In the script tools/gcov/ is the initial scan, filtering and report generation automatically done.

All reports are stored locally in build/lcov as html report (index.html). In Github, we are using codecov for a general reporting of the code coverage. Codecov gives a brief overview of the code coverage and also indicates in Pull-Requests if newly added code is not covered by tests. If you want to download the detailed html reports from the Pull-Requests or master build you can do it by the following way: 1. Open the "Checks" view in the PR 2. Open the "Details" link for the check iceoryx-coverage-doxygen-ubuntu in Test Coverage + Doxygen Documentation 3. On the right side you find a menu button Artifacts which shows lcov-report as download link

Safety & security

We aim for ASIL-D compliance. The ISO26262 is also a good read-up if you want to learn more about automotive safety. A nice introduction video was presented on CppCon 2019.

If you want to report a vulnerability, please use the Eclipse process.

We have a partnership with Perforce and use Helix QAC++ 2019.2 to perform a static-code analysis.

Github labels are used to group issues into the rulesets:

Ruleset name Github issue label
SEI CERT C++ 2016 Coding Standard CERT

If one of the rules is not followed, a rationale is added in the following manner:

With a comment in the same line:

    *mynullptr = foo; // PRQA S 4242 # Short description why

With a comment one line above (with the number after the warning number, next ’n’ lines are inclusive)

    // PRQA S 4242 1 # Short description why
    *mynullptr = foo;

Don't be afraid if you don't have Helix QAC++ available. As we want to make it easy for developers to contribute, please use the staging branch and we'll run the QAC++ scan and get back to you.

Results will be available on this Helix QAC dashboard. Please contact one of the maintainers, if you're interested in getting access.

It is possible that not the whole codebase follows these rules, things are work in progress. But this is where we want go. As of now we don't have any continuos integration checks implemented but will rely on reviews during the pull requests. We're planning to introduce continuos integration checks in the near future.

Each source file needs to have this header:

    // Copyright (c) [YEAR OF INITIAL CONTRIBUTION] - [YEAR LAST CONTRIBUTION] by [CONTRIBUTOR]. All rights reserved.
    // Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License");
    // you may not use this file except in compliance with the License.
    // You may obtain a copy of the License at
    // Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software
    // distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS,
    // WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied.
    // See the License for the specific language governing permissions and
    // limitations under the License.
    // SPDX-License-Identifier: Apache-2.0

Note: The date is either a year or a range of years with the first and last years of the range separated by a dash. For example: "2004" (initial and last contribution in the same year) or "2000 - 2004". The first year is when the contents of the file were first created and the last year is when the contents were last modified. The years of contribution should be ordered in chronological order, thus the last date in the list should be the year of the most recent contribution. If there is a gap between contributions of one or more calendar years, use a comma to separate the disconnected contribution periods (e.g. "2000 - 2004, 2006").


    // Copyright (c) 2019 - 2020, 2022 by Acme Corporation. All rights reserved.
    // Copyright (c) 2020 - 2022 by Jane Doe <>. All rights reserved.
    // Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License");
    // you may not use this file except in compliance with the License.
    // You may obtain a copy of the License at
    // Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software
    // distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS,
    // WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied.
    // See the License for the specific language governing permissions and
    // limitations under the License.
    // SPDX-License-Identifier: Apache-2.0

NOTE: For scripts or CMake files you can use the respective comment syntax like # for the header.

Quality levels

CMake targets can be developed according to different quality levels. Despite developing some of our targets according to automotive standards like ISO26262, the code base standalone does NOT legitimize the usage in a safety critical system. All requirements of a lower quality level are included in higher quality levels e.g. quality level 4 is included in quality level 3.

Also see ROS quality levels.

Quality level 5

This quality level is the default quality level. It is meant for examples and helper tools.

  • Reviewed by two approver
  • License and copyright statement available
  • No version policy required
  • No unit tests required

Quality level 4

This quality level is meant for all targets that need tier 1 support in ROS2.

  • Basic unit tests are available

Quality level 3

  • No compiler warnings
  • Doxygen and documentation available
  • Test specification available
  • Version policy required
  • Level 8 and 9 warnings in Helix QAC addressed

Quality level 2

  • Unit tests have full statement and branch coverage

Quality level 1

  • Warnings in Helix QAC addressed
  • Code coverage according to MC/DC available
  • Effective C++ by Scott Meyers
  • Unit Testing and the Arrange, Act and Assert (AAA) Pattern by Paulo Gomes
  • The C++ Standard Library by Nicolai M. Josuttis
  • Modern C++ Programming with Test-Driven Development: Code Better, Sleep Better by Jeff Langr
  • Modern C++ Design: Generic Programming and Design Patterns by Andrei Alexandrescu
  • Exceptional C++ by Herb Sutter
  • C++ Concurrency in Action by Anthony Williams