Migrating from TF1 to TF2 with TensorFlow Hub

This page explains how to keep using TensorFlow Hub while migrating your TensorFlow code from TensorFlow 1 to TensorFlow 2. It complements TensorFlow's general migration guide.

For TF2, TF Hub has switched away from the custom hub.Module format and its hub.Module API to the native SavedModel format of TF2 and its associated API of hub.load() and hub.KerasLayer.

The hub.Module API remains available in the tensorflow_hub library for use in TF1 and in the TF1 compatibility mode of TF2. It can only load assets in the hub.Module format.

The new API of hub.load() (and hub.KerasLayer, which wraps it for Keras) works for TensorFlow 1.15 (in eager and graph mode) and in TensorFlow 2. This new API can load the new TF2 SavedModel assets, and, with the restrictions laid out below, for the legacy hub.Module assets.

In general, it is recommended to use new API wherever possible.

Summary of the new API

hub.load() is the new low-level function to load a SavedModel from TensorFlow Hub (or compatible services). It wraps TF2's tf.saved_model.load(); TensorFlow's SavedModel Guide describes what you can do with the result.

m = hub.load(handle)
outputs = m(inputs)

The hub.KerasLayer class calls hub.load() and adapts the result for use in Keras alongside other Keras layers. (It may even be a convenient wrapper for loaded SavedModels used in other ways.)

model = tf.keras.Sequential([
    hub.KerasLayer(handle),
    ...])

Many tutorials show these APIs in action. See in particular

If the hub.Module you use has a newer version that comes in the TF2 SavedModel format, we recommend to switch the API and the module version at the same time.

Loading legacy hub.Modules

It can happen that a new TF2 SavedModel is not yet available for your use-case and you need to load an legacy hub.Module. Starting in tensorflow_hub release 0.7, you can use legacy hub.Modules together with hub.KerasLayer as shown below:

m = hub.KerasLayer(handle)
tensor_out = m(tensor_in)

Additionally KerasLayer exposes the ability to specify tags, signature, output_key and signature_outputs_as_dict for more specific usages of legacy hub.Modules and legacy SavedModels.

Using lower level APIs

Old hub.Modules can be loaded via tf.saved_model.load. Instead of

# DEPRECATED: TensorFlow 1
m = hub.Module(handle, tags={"foo", "bar"})
tensors_out_dict = m(dict(x1=..., x2=...), signature="sig", as_dict=True)

it is recommended to use:

# TensorFlow 2
m = hub.load(path, tags={"foo", "bar"})
tensors_out_dict = m.signatures["sig"](x1=..., x2=...)

In these examples m.signatures is a dict of TensorFlow concrete functions keyed by signature names. Calling such a function computes all its outputs, even if unused. (This is different from the lazy evaluation of TF1's graph mode.)

Retraining legacy hub.Modules

Retraining legacy hub.Modules with the new APIs is not supported. This is due to them depending on tf.saved_model.load converting a flat graph view into an object view and dropping important details. Such as: trainable variables are imported as such, but update ops (for batch normalization etc.), regularization losses and cond/while contexts for differentiation are dropped.

If you need to retrain legacy hub.Modules you will need to keep using the 1.x APIs.