I would like to leverage Eclipse PDE to develop server-side application without GUI. Is it possible and what is the correct way? Are there tutorials on the web?
I have experience on developing Eclipse RCP applications but how does the process differes when I do not need GUI (swt, etc.), what is the best practice?
Best How To :
You can basically use the same tooling as with GUI based applications.
On the other hand normally you only really need the Eclipse PDE tooling for GUIs. For non OSGi applications it is easier to just use maven and the maven bundle plugin. In this case you develop the non GUI application like a non OSGi application. Most of the OSGi handling is done by the maven bundle plugin (using bnd). See my Apache Karaf Tutorials for some examples.
Another approach is using bndtools. It is much more integrated but a little less familiar for maven users.