There is not much discussion on how to improve the performance of Eclipse plug-ins. I haven’t yet got any real metrics, but some ideas suggested include:

  1. In the launch window for running a JUnit test/application, select only the plugins required
  2. Reduce the memory and permgen memory settings for a Junit test/application (this made a big difference)
  3. Identify and remove unused dependencies in each plugin
  4. “Apparently Eclipse prefers lots of small projects to one large one” - Split up existing plugins into bundles
  5. Reduce the minimum/maximum size of memory/heap size in your eclipse.ini
  6. Uninstall Eclipse plugins that are not used

Another option is to split your project into multiple development environments. I have recently split a project into two environments - one full environment that requires everything, and a secondary environment which allows me to concentrate on code generation and inference. As a result, starting tests take significantly less time (40-80%, depending on the test).

Also see the Rational Application Developer Performance Tips guide, which is based on Eclipse.