The 1.9.18 Google App Engine release has added new capabilities to the App Engine PHP runtime. It’s now possible to select PHP 5.5 as your runtime, and a number of useful new features are supported if you do so.

The cURL extension is now supported. We’ve also provided a cURL implementation using the standard HTTP streams API for apps that do not need the complete cURL extension. The ImageMagick extension is now supported for PHP 5.5 apps as well.

We’ve added an in memory virtual filesystem that makes it possible to create temporary files. In the new PHP 5.5 runtime, you can now use the sys_get_temp_dir(), tmpfile() and tempnam() functions to create temporary files.

The PHP 5.5. runtime also gives you the ability to upload files directly to your application, without the need to upload the files to Google Cloud Storage first. Direct uploads leverages the same in-memory virtual filesystem that is used to provide temporary filesystem support. Direct uploads are only available with the PHP 5.5 runtime, and are limited to a maximum combined size of 32MB, which is the incoming request size limit.

See the linked-to posts, from the unoffical “Tips and Tricks for PHP on Google App Engine” blog, for more detail, and the App Engine release notes for more detail on what has changed.