This instructable will cover the basic steps that you need to follow to get started with the ESP8266 ESP-12.
A lot of this content is already out there, but I had a hard time getting everything in place, and the different tutorials can cause a great deal of confusion, which is why I have tried to make the simplest setup possible.
Specifically, this instructable will cover how to make the ESP-12 behave as a WiFi client by connecting to your home wireless network and how to send sensor data ( we will send random numbers to test, and will not really be covering sensors in this instructable) to a Thingspeak channel.
The following are the materials we will be using :
3. LM1117 3.3V Voltage Regulator
4. Jumper Wires
5. 5V Power adapter
The ESP-12 has a 2mm pitch, which means you cannot access all the pins on a breadboard or a perforated / dot matrix directly, which have a 2.54mm pitch (distance between adjacent pins).
You could use a Xbee adapter board, but there's an easier way out. Take a small length of single strand cable or multi strand cable, and get a spider web breakout like this. I added two rows of pinouts, to make sure the pins were handy. Here's what it looks like.