So I did some tests on the pure-qml template. On my setup it takes around 50 seconds to build (which indeed is long for something that does not really need compiling).
--dirty flag did indeed not make much difference. My guess is this is because there is nothing to compile, and so there is no compile steps to skip.
@doniks You could do
clickable --skip-build desktop after the initial
clickable desktop and from there on edit the qml directly in the
build/x86_64-linux-gnu/app/install/qml folder. If you dynamically load your qml you could probably even get by without having to restart your app.