Limpkin has developed a development board for the ESP8266-03:
The ESP8266 modules come with a pre-loaded firmware that will accept some commands through their UART interface (connect to wifi, open udp socket, send data to this IP…). Moreover, since Espressif recently released their SDK you can now load your own custom programs using the existing bootloader. To launch this bootloader you just have to connect some IOs to GND in a specific order.
However, anyone wanting to develop a project involving dozens of Wifi nodes has to start from somewhere, eg make a prototype of their future platform. That is why I developed this development board, so the prototyping stage is as simple as possible.
As you can see in the picture below the dev board breaks out all the ESP8266-03 IOs, includes a 3.3V LDO, a USB to UART converter, some logic and a button to automatically start the bootloader.
Check out the video after the break.