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REST (REpresentational State Transfer) is a simple stateless architecture that generally runs over HTTP.
REST involves reading a designated Web page that contains an XML file. The XML file describes and includes the desired content.
REST is often used in mobile applications, social networking Web sites, mashup tools and automated business processes. The REST style emphasizes that interactions between clients and services is enhanced by having a limited number of operations (verbs). Flexibility is provided by assigning resources (nouns) their own unique universal resource indicators (URIs). Because each verb has a specific meaning (GET, POST, PUT and DELETE), REST avoids ambiguity.
As described in a dissertation by Roy Fielding, REST is an "architectural style" that basically exploits the existing technology and protocols of the Web, including HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) and XML. REST is simpler to use than the well-known SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) approach, which requires writing or using a provided server program (to serve data) and a client program (to request data).
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- Roy Fielding's dissertation describes REST as one of several approaches to information distribution.
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