Introducing Strongback

Remember last April when we presented at the 2015 FIRST World Conference and talked about designing testable robot code? We mentioned possibly creating a new open source library with that code, and that got a lot of interest.

Well, over the summer we extracted the code from our team-specific codebase, restructured and documented it, and even added a bit of functionality. We still have to finish the website, but we have a web domain and discussion forums. We also have a name: Strongback.

Strongback is a new open source software library that makes your robot code lighter and stronger. You use it along with the WPILib library on your FIRST Robotics Competitionrobot’s RoboRIO, but Strongback’s APIs and functionality mean you need less code to do more. Plus, Strongback makes it easier for you to test your code without robot hardware and can record real-time data while you operate your robot for later post-processing.

Strongback offers the following features:

  • Testable – Test more of your robot code on development machines without requiring any real robot hardware.
  • Simple API – Uses powerful language features of Java 8 to reduce and simplify code while retaining flexibility.
  • Useful frameworks – Strongback offers several separate frameworks that you can mix and match in your robot code and in your tests. Use what you want, and nothing more. Set up all of them with just a few lines of code.
  • Uses WPILib – Uses the WPILib classes underneath for safety and consistency.

Check out our code, read our documentation, and if you’re interested then join us! We’re looking for students and mentors to try using Strongback, contribute code and documentation, help with the website, and even design robot hardware for physical tests.

Follow us on Twitter @Strongbacklib, on GitHub, or join our user and developer discussion forums.