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How to carry out simple pick and place operation using a simple planar robotic arm with a two finger gripper in Gazebo without relying on ROS?

I created a simple 3 joint robotic arm in Gazebo, and added a gripper while trying to follow the Gazebo tutorials.

I am trying to replicate a very simple pick and place operation where I just provide the pose of the object of interest and try to have the arm pick and drop it somewhere else.

However, I am not sure of how to get the gripper control working. I discovered this plugin

which might help but there's no documentation for it. I am going through the code but I am mostly used to working in ROS (beginner level) and that too python.

So I am learning to do this with just Gazebo (my own personal goals and plans to build on this project) and improve my C++.

How do I utilize the above plugin and make it pick and drop an object? In ROS it would essentially boil down to creating nodes that subscribe to specific topics, share the pose information, and utilize that for specific calls to the plugin for the gripper to carry out an action. Just having some trouble understanding the structure without the ROS part here with Gazebo.

Would appreciate any suggestions on this!

System - Ubuntu 16.04