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It is an application layer that adds HTTP semantic awareness on top of the excellent bit-pushing and HTTP syntax-management provided by mochiweb, and provides a simple and clean way to connect that to your application's behavior.
A Webmachine application is a set of resources, each of which is a set of functions over the state of the resource. We really mean functions here, not object-methods, infinite-server-loops, or any other such construction. This aspect of Webmachine is one of the reasons why Webmachine applications are relatively easy to understand and extend.
These functions give you a place to define the representations and other Web-relevant properties of your application's resources -- with the emphasis that the first-class things on the Web are resources and that their essential properties of interaction are already quite well defined and usefully constrained.