(1) Started off by downloading Windows all-in-one toolchain & MSYS2 zip file from https://docs.espressif.com/projects/esp ... setup.html. As far as I understand this installed the "IDF" environment - compiler, Make files, etc and the MSY32 environment to run everything in.
(2) For targeting ESP8266 I downloaded and installed the SDK (3.0) from here https://github.com/espressif/ESP8266_RTOS_SDK.
(3) I set the IDF_PATH environment variable to point to this SDK. All seems well, can run menuconfig where I can select esp8266 as target platform, as well as other configuration parameters. Can make and flash sample apps to esp8266 based dev kit.
Although everything seems in order, to me it just was not obvious how to set this all up. Seems like I had to piece together nuggets of info from Espressif web site, blogs, older documentation, trial and error. Just want to have high confidence i have installed and configured everything correctly, any comments from anyone who is doing ESP8266 / IDF development?
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