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A Gentle Introduction to ROS Paperback – October 1, 2013
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About the Author
Jason M. O'Kane is Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of South Carolina. He works in robotics.
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The book fills in around the ROS tutorials by drawing from wiki pages on underlying commands like rossrv, the roslaunch xml page, and many others like them, and placing that knowledge in a cohesive framework that helps you understand why you should do things certain ways (e.g. why use relative or private names in launch file parameters, and why use groups), and highlights details easily glossed over in ROS documentation (e.g. rate-limited logging - ROS_INFO_STREAM_THROTTLE()). It covers all the core areas of ROS, but does not go into important libraries like tf. For that, try the more advanced ROS By Example ebook from Lulu.com, which picks up where the ROS tutorials leave off.
Kudos to Jason O'Kane for using his pedagogical skills to fulfill the mission of the "x for Dummies" series: "An introduction for beginners and a reference for the rest of us".
This book does a solid job of getting you up and running on the very steep learning curve that is ROS. After reading it, you'll be in much better shape to wade through the slosh-pit of the various ROS modules and distros.
While it may seem like a 'slim' book on a big topic, I found it far better than trying to wade through the disjointed and often inaccurate online 'tutorials'. He doesn't waste time with pointless asides and stays focused on moving the reader through the essentials. In other words, the short length is a blessing, not a curse !!
In the past as a hobbyist robotictist, I have looked at ROS several times but was never able to get any traction. I think this book, may be the key for finally exploring ROS.
I will definitely be referring back to this book numerous times as I continue to write ROS software.
I have been following ROS since its inception and this is, in my opinion, the hands down best intro to the topic I have come across.