I just realized that if I build a max application, and put all my patches and my eclipse project in a "source" folder, then I can directly edit the application without having to rebuild in max until it's perfect.
I don't know what it means either - edit the application how, exactly?
Eclipse is not very good at tracking file changes made outside Eclipse itself. While it can sometimes make sense to keep Max patcher files in an Eclipse project (to get coherent source control, for example), you end up hitting F5 rather a lot.
Typically I waste a lot of time rebuilding standalones. I have to drag things into them for 10 minutes before it starts working. My maxinterface.json needs to get dragged in. My abstractions need to get dragged in, I have to export a new eclipse project as a .jar file. I have to go down the list and see what 3rd party objects I need. And then, after all of that, something is screwed up and I have to start all over again.
Instead, what I've been doing is editing all this stuff inside a source folder inside my application package including my entire eclipse project. Then, when it's working perfectly, I'm rebuilding once.
I'm not claiming this will save your life or anything. But I find it helpful.
When I rebuild standalones, I generally build a new .app and replace the .mxf and MacOS folder of the previous version with the new ones. So I don't need to copy all the "support" files into the package all the time.