While the Eclipse platform is designed to serve as an open tools platform, it is architected so that its components could be used to build just about any client application. The minimal set of plug-ins needed to build a rich client application is collectively known as the Rich Client Platform.

Applications that don't require a common resource model can be built using a subset of the platform. These rich applications are still based on a dynamic plug-in model, and the UI is built using the same toolkits and extension points. The layout and function of the workbench is under fine-grained control of the plug-in developer in this case.

When we say that the Rich Client Platform is the minimal set of plug-ins needed to build a platform application with a UI, we mean that your application need only require two plug-ins, org.eclipse.ui and org.eclipse.core.runtime, and their prerequisites. However, rich client applications are free to use any API deemed necessary for their feature set, and can require any plug-ins above the bare minimum. Examples include the Help UI, and the Update Manager.

URL: http://eclipse.org/rcp/
Licence: Eclipse Public License