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As 2021 drew to a close, programming languages were battling to get the TIOBE programming language of the year award. By December, we could tell that C# had gained so much traction that it seemed it could take the crown.

But the universe had other plans, turning the tables on the crowd favorite. When the year came to an end, Python was at the podium, taking position 1.

TIOBE is a software quality measurement company from the Netherlands. It produces a monthly index tracking popular languages across the globe.

What does the index track?

The data for these rankings come from the number of search results for a programming language across search engines. Using sources that include Google, QQ, Sohu, Amazon, and Wikipedia, TIOBE calculates the results using the “+”<language> programming” query to come up with the ratings every month.

The entire process is detailed here.

To determine the winner and crown the programming language of the year, TIOBE uses the rankings to determine how much usage has risen for each language year-on-year. Python may have taken the crown, but the race was close, as it overtook C# by a margin of 0.13%.

Credit: TIOBE

A narrow focus

The index does not show the best or most efficient programming language or measure the amount of code written in a language across the internet. What it does is give us insight into the resources and pages available on the web with relation to language.

Because of its narrow focus, which may seem shallow sometimes, the TIOBE index has seen criticism leveled at it, especially since it uses one query and does not account for non-English languages. The organization has said it is trying to introduce more parameters.

Meanwhile, other ranking systems exist and use different methods. They include; Stackoverflow Insights and Redmonk.