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REST (REpresentational State Transfer) is a simple stateless architecture that generally runs over HTTP. It is an "architectural style" that basically exploits the existing technology and protocols of the Web, including HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) and XML. REST is easy to use than the well-known SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) approach.

(Not to be confused with or reST)

REST (REpresentational State Transfer) is an architectural style that uses identification of resources; manipulation of resources through representations; self-descriptive messages; and, hypermedia as the engine of application state, to build distributed systems that are scalable and resilient to change.

The term was introduced and defined in 2000 by Roy Fielding in his doctoral dissertation. Fielding is one of the principal authors of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) specification versions 1.0 and 1.1.

In simple language, REST is an alternative to SOAP based web services. Where SOAP tries to model the exchange between client and server as calls to objects, REST tries to be faithful to the web domain.