The ESP 12F is a very cost effective device, but it is problematic, because in uses mm-spacing in its pin-outs.
After considerable effort on my part, I have come up with two solutions.
You can buy inexpensive breakout boards at: ebay.com/itm/5X-ESP8266-Super-Node-PCB-for-ESP-7-12-12-E-F-S-FREE-SHIPPING-ship-2-biz-days-/272422927299
Then look on the internet: instructables.com/id/ESP-12F-ESP8266-Module-Minimal-Breadboard-for-Flas/
The instructions are a bit flaky. However, press & hold the Flash button before starting the Upload. Then toggling the reset button as soon as the first orange code appears at the bottom of the Arduino IDE, then releasing the flash button when Upload is complete. It works every time.
A more elegant solution is to go to the internet again:
This unit uses spring loaded contacts so you can quickly Upload a series of sketches to multiple ESP-12Fs.
Thank you for sharing those interesting solutions.
The ESP-12F is also one of the most power efficient ESP8266 boards.
When we want to program that board, basically we solder some wires to the pins needed to upload code to the board and then, we connect them to an FTDI programmer. It’s not an elegant solution and it is not very practical, but it works.
Your suggestions are definitely better, specially for prototyping.
Once again, thank you so much for sharing.