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RESTful Web Services

RESTful Web Services are fundamentally REST Architecture based Web Services. Where, REST stands for Representational State Transfer. Everything is a resource in REST Architecture. Each resource must support the HTTP common operations. Resources are identified by global IDs (which are typically URIs). This Architecture was initially described by Roy Fielding in 2000.  It is a very common question in an interview.

What is REST, An architectural style or a protocol?

REST is an architectural style, not a protocol.
It is most common APIs recommended by Developers as well as a client for web-based applications. Since, RESTful web services are lightweight, highly scalable and maintainable.
A resource is calling up through a common interface based on the HTTP standard methods. Here, In a REST based architecture, there will be a REST server which provides access to the resources and A REST client can access and modify the REST resources.

Building a RESTful Web Service
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Restful Web Service is fast: Since, it consumes less bandwidth, resource and having no strict specification like SOAP. Hence, RESTful Web Services are fast.
Restful Web Service is Language independent and Platform independent: RESTful web services can be written in any programming language and executed on any platform.
Restful Web Service Permits different data format: RESTful web service permits different data format such as Plain Text, HTML, XML, and JSON.
Restful Web Service can use SOAP: RESTful web services can use SOAP web services as the implementation.