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Custom Python function components

Python function-based component definition makes it easier for you to create TFX custom components, by saving you the effort of defining a component specification class, executor class, and component interface class. In this component definition style, you write a function that is annotated with type hints. The type hints describe the input artifacts, output artifacts, and parameters of your component.

Writing your custom component in this style is very straightforward, as in the following example.

def MyValidationComponent(
    model: InputArtifact[Model],
    blessing: OutputArtifact[Model],
    accuracy_threshold: Parameter[int] = 10,
    ) -> OutputDict(accuracy=float):
  '''My simple custom model validation component.'''

  accuracy = evaluate_model(model)
  if accuracy >= accuracy_threshold:

  return {
    'accuracy': accuracy

If you are new to TFX pipelines, learn more about the core concepts of TFX pipelines.

Inputs, outputs, and parameters

In TFX, inputs and outputs are tracked as Artifact objects which describe the location of and metadata properties associated with the underlying data; this information is stored in ML Metadata. Artifacts can describe complex data types or simple data types, such as: int, float, bytes, or unicode strings.

A parameter is an argument (int, float, bytes, or unicode string) to a component known at pipeline construction time. Parameters are useful for specifying arguments and hyperparameters like training iteration count, dropout rate, and other configuration to your component. Parameters are stored as properties of component executions when tracked in ML Metadata.


To create a custom component, write a function that implements your custom logic and decorate it with the @component decorator from the tfx.dsl.component.experimental.decorators module. To define your component’s input and output schema, annotate your function’s arguments and return value using annotations from the tfx.dsl.component.experimental.annotations module:

  • For each artifact input, apply the InputArtifact[ArtifactType] type hint annotation. Replace ArtifactType with the artifact’s type, which is a subclass of tfx.types.Artifact. These inputs can be optional arguments.

  • For each output artifact, apply the OutputArtifact[ArtifactType] type hint annotation. Replace ArtifactType with the artifact’s type, which is a subclass of tfx.types.Artifact. Component output artifacts should be passed as input arguments of the function, so that your component can write outputs to a system-managed location and set appropriate artifact metadata properties. For each parameter, use the type hint annotation Parameter[T]. Replace T with the type of the parameter, such as: int, float, str, or bytes. This argument can be optional or this argument can be defined with a default value.

  • For each simple data type input (int, float, str or bytes) not known at pipeline construction time, use the type hint T. Note that in the TFX 0.22 release, concrete values cannot be passed at pipeline construction time for this type of input (use the Parameter annotation instead, as described in the previous section). This argument can be optional or this argument can be defined with a default value. If your component has simple data type outputs (int, float, str or bytes), you can return these outputs using an OutputDict instance. Apply the OutputDict type hint as your component’s return value.

  • For each output, add argument <output_name>=<T> to the OutputDict constructor, where <output_name> is the output name and <T> is the output type, such as: int, float, str or bytes.

In the body of your function, input and output artifacts are passed as tfx.types.Artifact objects; you can inspect its .uri to get its system-managed location and read/set any properties. Input parameters and simple data type inputs are passed as objects of the specified type. Simple data type outputs should be returned as a dictionary, where the keys are the appropriate output names and the values are the desired return values.

The completed function component can look like this:

import tfx.v1 as tfx
from tfx.dsl.component.experimental.decorators import component

def MyTrainerComponent(
    training_data: tfx.dsl.components.InputArtifact[tfx.types.standard_artifacts.Examples],
    model: tfx.dsl.components.OutputArtifact[tfx.types.standard_artifacts.Model],
    dropout_hyperparameter: float,
    num_iterations: tfx.dsl.components.Parameter[int] = 10
    ) -> tfx.v1.dsl.components.OutputDict(loss=float, accuracy=float):
  '''My simple trainer component.'''

  records = read_examples(training_data.uri)
  model_obj = train_model(records, num_iterations, dropout_hyperparameter)

  return {
    'loss': model_obj.loss,
    'accuracy': model_obj.accuracy

# Example usage in a pipeline graph definition:
# ...
trainer = MyTrainerComponent(
pusher = Pusher(model=trainer.outputs['model'])
# ...

The preceding example defines MyTrainerComponent as a Python function-based custom component. This component consumes an examples artifact as its input, and produces a model artifact as its output. The component uses the artifact_instance.uri to read or write the artifact at its system-managed location. The component takes a num_iterations input parameter and a dropout_hyperparameter simple data type value, and the component outputs loss and accuracy metrics as simple data type output values. The output model artifact is then used by the Pusher component.