Hello KillaChaos. Welcome to the Java Programming Forums.
Is there a way to have a start page similar to Adobe Dreamweaver and MS Visual Studio, so that when you open the program it just has a page that lists your recent files, and links to open new files? I think something like that may have appeared when I first started eclipse, but it doesn't happen anymore.
Yes this is possible. You just need to create an application with a similar GUI that loads before your main application. You could make it list all files in a given directory easily or use a JTree.
How to Use Trees (The Java™ Tutorials > Creating a GUI with JFC/Swing > Using Swing Components)
To open the recent files you could use a file chooser
How to Use File Choosers (The Java™ Tutorials > Creating a GUI with JFC/Swing > Using Swing Components)
There are several methods you could use..
I would suggest using Netbeans to create the GUI.
Secondly, how are projects managed in Eclipse? Are all the projects just listed on the side?
I use the Package Explorer window on the left hand side to manage my projects. I find it very handy!! You can easily minimize it or change it's position if you wish.