Flasher.js never gets a mention, but has, for me at least, become a foolproof way to flash ESP8266 with Espruino. I rarely if ever use the esptool.py now. Your mileage may vary but I'd recommend trying it, especially if just starting out.
Yes, cool flasher, afaik there is no way to figure out if you can use qio or have to use dio, which is slower.
You can't AFAIK but I've not found it to be an issue. Maybe I've been lucky with the hardware flash chips on my boards. I've got Wemos D1 mini clones and NodeMCU boards all of which are a couple of years old now.
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