Hadoop provides HTTP REST API interface that exposes access to HDFS using REST API. The WebHDFS provides ability to read and write files in HDFS and also provides support for all operations. It also provides security using Kerberos (SPNEGO) and Hadoop delegation tokens for authentication. You can find more information about it here I wanted to try WebHDFS API, so i followed these steps, first i changed the hdfs-site.xml file and changed it to set value of dfs.webhdfs.enabled property to true. Then i did restart my hadoop server and when i the HDFS name node was starting i looked at the logs to verify that WebHDFS is started
After restarting the server i used CURL for testing out couple of WebHDFS REST API calls like this

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