The web is built on an architectural style called Representational State Transfer (REST). REST ideas underpin how information content is accessed from web pages. REST is a simpler alternative to web services based on SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) and WDSL (Web Services Description Language).
 
Conforming to REST constraints is often referred to as being ‘RESTful’ and a way to leverage extant technologies in a disciplined, best practices way.

The major aspect of REST web services is they should be "stateless".

References:

http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/webservices/library/ws-restful/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Representational_state_transfer

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