Reusing the builder process

In
  https://confluence.jetbrains.com/display/IDEADEV/External+Builder+API+and+Plugins
it is indicated that the build process could be reused. I could not find out how to achieve that, apart from using gradle (which has its own mechanism for that). I just want to make sure that I haven't missed some IDEA trick before implementing that myself.

Background:
We're currently developing IDEA support for Xtext and Xtend. For both, setting up the initial language infrastructure can take several seconds. With the new process per build invocation policy, this is necessary on every build. So saving this for all but the initial builder invocations would be a huge improvement.

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