Chris Ramsdale, App Engine Product Manager announced
the list of features in App Engine 1.7.7 and the list will definitely bring cheers from a lot of developers who have been tracking feature requests closely. By moving outbound sockets to preview for Java and Python, an entire new range of applications are now possible since App Engine applications can now make outbound connections with TCP or UDP sockets. This was previously limited to HTTP connections only.
Java 7 has been seeing increasing support in the recent releases and this one nails it by upgrading the Java 7 runtime to General Availability and all app deployments initiated using the new 1.7.7 SDK will use Java 7.
Developer Experience and Reliability have also been addressed in a big way. First up, billing-enabled applications will no longer be required to spend a minimum of $2.10 per week. Just enable billing for a free tier application and continue running within the free tier without worrying about your instance getting terminated due to spike. App Engine has always been among the most generous of the PaaS platforms out there and it is good to see more of that to encourage developers to try out services that need billing to be enabled. Reliability has been increased on several fronts, especially around a faster and more consistent deployment experience, a new scheduler which autoscales applications, improvements in Task Queue and more.
The set of features released in 1.7.7 have long been anticipated by developers and this release is a solid one from the team. One gets the sense that the team is hard at work at making bigger announcements at Google I/O 2013
next month. Refer to the Java
release notes for the full list of 1.7.7 features and bug fixes.