5 Best Ways to Use TensorFlow Text to Check String Properties in Python

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๐Ÿ’ก Problem Formulation: When processing text with TensorFlow in Python, identifying whether a string has a certain property can be essential for text analysis, filtering, or preprocessing. For example, we might need to check if a string contains a valid date, is written in a certain language, or contains a specific keyword. Efficiently identifying these properties ensures effective input for natural language processing or machine learning models.

Method 1: Tokenization to Identify Keywords

Tokenization is the process of splitting text into tokens, which are useful in isolating specific words or phrases. TensorFlow Text provides tokenization utilities which facilitate this process, aiding in the detection of keywords or specific terms within a string.

Here’s an example:

import tensorflow as tf
import tensorflow_text as tf_text

tokenizer = tf_text.WhitespaceTokenizer()
tokens = tokenizer.tokenize("TensorFlow is amazing for NLP tasks.")

keyword = 'NLP'
contains_keyword = tf.reduce_any(tf.equal(tokens, keyword))

contains_keyword.numpy() would output True.

In this example, we first tokenize the input string using TensorFlow’s whitespace tokenizer, then use tf.reduce_any combined with tf.equal to check if ‘NLP’ the keyword is present in the tokens. If the keyword exists, it returns True.

Method 2: Regular Expressions for Pattern Matching

TensorFlow Text includes utilities that allow the use of regular expressions for pattern matching. This is particularly useful for finding strings that match a specified pattern, such as email addresses, URLs, dates, etc.

Here’s an example:

import tensorflow as tf
import tensorflow_text as tf_text

regex = r'\b\d{4}-\d{2}-\d{2}\b'  # Pattern to match a YYYY-MM-DD date format.
text_input = "The event will happen on 2023-04-01."
matcher = tf_text.RegexFullMatch(regex)
date_match = matcher.match(text_input)

date_match.numpy() would output array([False, True]).

Here, RegexFullMatch is used to match the input string against a regular expression pattern specified for dates. It produces a tensor of booleans showing whether each part of the string matches the pattern.

Method 3: Language Detection

Using TensorFlow Text, we can also incorporate models capable of language detection to determine if a string is written in a particular language.

Here’s an example:

import tensorflow as tf
import tensorflow_text as tf_text
import tensorflow_hub as hub

detector = hub.load('https://tfhub.dev/google/lite-model/livedoor_recognition/1')
text_input = ["This is an English text", "ใ“ใ‚Œใฏๆ—ฅๆœฌ่ชžใฎใƒ†ใ‚ญใ‚นใƒˆใงใ™"]

detected_languages = detector(text_input)

A possible output could be ['en', 'ja'], representing the detected languages for each input string.

The provided code snippet uses TensorFlow Hub to load a pre-trained model for language recognition and applies it to an array of strings to detect their languages. This can be extended to filter strings by their language property.

Method 4: String Length Evaluation

Determining if a string meets the length requirements could be a property of interest. TensorFlow Text facilitates operations on string lengths within tensors.

Here’s an example:

import tensorflow as tf

text_input = "Check string length within TensorFlow Text."
text_length = tf.strings.length(text_input)

min_length = 10
is_valid_length = text_length >= min_length

is_valid_length.numpy() would output True, given that our string exceeds the minimum length.

This code evaluates whether the input string meets a minimum length requirement using TensorFlow operations on strings. It determines if the length requirement is met and can be used to filter or flag strings accordingly.

Bonus One-Liner Method 5: Direct String Property Evaluation

In some cases, we may want to directly check for a string’s property that can be evaluated in a one-liner, such as checking for the presence of digits.

Here’s an example:

import tensorflow as tf

text_input = "TensorFlow version 2.0 is released!"
has_digits = tf.strings.regex_full_match(text_input, r".*\d.*")

has_digits.numpy() would return True, as the string includes digits.

This succinct one-liner uses TensorFlow’s regex match function to check whether the input string contains any digits.


  • Method 1: Tokenization. Strengths: Precise keyword search. Weaknesses: Limited to simple keyword matching.
  • Method 2: Regular Expressions. Strengths: Flexible pattern matching. Weaknesses: Can be complex and computationally intensive.
  • Method 3: Language Detection. Strengths: Useful for multilingual applications. Weaknesses: Depends on the availability of a pre-trained model.
  • Method 4: Length Evaluation. Strengths: Simple and fast. Weaknesses: Only evaluates length, not content.
  • Method 5: Direct Evaluation. Strengths: Quick for simple properties. Weaknesses: Not as versatile for complex requirements.