Here is a new YouTube video on what it takes to build a development environment for the ESP8266. This is a "start from scratch" story but hopefully it shows that it isn't that complex.
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Newbies Start Here
Are you new to ESP8266?
Unsure what to do?
Dunno where to start?
Start right here!
We also have a RTOS version and a MESH version too!
Complete listing of the official ESP8266 related documentation release by ESPRESSIF!
Must read here!