Back in the day I used MS C/C++ 5.1 (one of their finer products IMHO). This was classical command line suite with compiler, linker, make and a nice editor (called me I think).
Based on an idea in
1) Run the special make file to generate a new temp batch script to compile the code (only one file) as needed
2) Ran the new temp batch file
3) Saved the error report if present
4) If the error report was present then parse the errors and source code to the editor for correction
5) Jump to step 1 until all files were made
It was so bloody arcane so that as little was running in memory at one. It was either make, the compiler or the editor using the precious 640K at at time. But it certainly felt a lit faster in the compile/edit/cycle once I got it working.