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Building TFX pipelines

Using the Pipeline class

TFX pipelines are defined using the Pipeline class. The following example demonstrates how to use the Pipeline class.


Replace the following:

  • pipeline-name: The name of this pipeline. The pipeline name must be unique.

    TFX uses the pipeline name when querying ML Metadata for component input artifacts. Reusing a pipeline name may result in unexpected behaviors.

  • pipeline-root: The root path of this pipeline's outputs. The root path must be the full path to a directory that your orchestrator has read and write access to. At runtime, TFX uses the pipeline root to generate output paths for component artifacts. This directory can be local, or on a supported distributed file system, such as Google Cloud Storage or HDFS.

  • components: A list of component instances that make up this pipeline's workflow.

  • enable-cache: (Optional.) A boolean value that indicates if this pipeline uses caching to speed up pipeline execution.

  • metadata-connection-config: (Optional.) A connection configuration for ML Metadata.

Defining the component execution graph

Component instances produce artifacts as outputs and typically depend on artifacts produced by upstream component instances as inputs. The execution sequence for component instances is determined by creating a directed acyclic graph (DAG) of the artifact dependencies.

For instance, the ExampleGen standard component can ingest data from a CSV file and output serialized example records. The StatisticsGen standard component accepts these example records as input and produces dataset statistics. In this example, the instance of StatisticsGen must follow ExampleGen because SchemaGen depends on the output of ExampleGen.

Task-based dependencies

You can also define task-based dependencies using your component's add_upstream_node and add_downstream_node methods. add_upstream_node lets you specify that the current component must be executed after the specified component. add_downstream_node lets you specify that the current component must be executed before the specified component.

Pipeline templates

The easiest way to get a pipeline set up quickly, and to see how all the pieces fit together, is to use a template. Using templates is covered in Building a TFX Pipeline Locally.


TFX pipeline caching lets your pipeline skip over components that have been executed with the same set of inputs in a previous pipeline run. If caching is enabled, the pipeline attempts to match the signature of each component, the component and set of inputs, to one of this pipeline's previous component executions. If there is a match, the pipeline uses the component outputs from the previous run. If there is not a match, the component is executed.

Do not use caching if your pipeline uses non-deterministic components. For example, if you create a component to create a random number for your pipeline, enabling the cache causes this component to execute once. In this example, subsequent runs use the first run's random number instead of generating a random number.