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A RESTful API is an architectural style for an application program interface (API) that uses HTTP requests to access and use data. That data can be used to GET, PUT, POST and DELETE data types, which refers to the reading, updating, creating and deleting of operations concerning resources.

An API for a website is code that allows two software programs to communicate with each other. The API spells out the proper way for a developer to write a program requesting services from an operating system or other application.

A RESTful API -- also referred to as a RESTful web service or REST API -- is based on representational state transfer REST, which is an architectural style and approach to communications often used in web services development.

REST technology is generally preferred over other similar technologies. This tends to be the case because REST uses less bandwith, making it more suitable for efficient internet usage. RESTful APIs can also be built with programming languages such as JavaScript or Python.

The REST used by browsers can be thought of as the language of the internet. With cloud on the rise, APIs are being used by cloud consumers to expose and organize access to web services. REST is a logical choice for building APIs that allow users to connect to, manage and interact with cloud services flexibly in a distributed environment. RESTful APIs are used by such sites as Amazon, Google, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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