Give it 2 minutes
When ever I find a new plugin/framework I usually give it max. 2 minutes, if I do not get what it tries to accomplish I will not waste more time on it.
So separating plugins/frameworks into easy to understand, easy to use components is the most important factor for the success of that plugin/framework.
Xstream is a great example (http://xstream.codehaus.org)
The first section you see is The “About XStream”, and the text says “XStream is a simple library to serialize objects to XML and back again.” VERY easy to understand VERY short and VERY to the point. Not confusing the hell out of me with long paragraphs about how cool this tool is and what it can do for you – or details on the internal implementation of it… JUST short and to the point. The next thing I look for is a short 2-10 min tutorial if they have one. They happen to have a 2 minutes tutorial (http://xstream.codehaus.org/tutorial.html) so within 5 minutes time, I not only understand what they are trying to accomplish but also have “seen” it in action. LOVE IT!!!
Download and run/use it
After my 2 minutes “intro” I decide to either leave it if I do not get it or move on and read more or maybe even download it. If I cannot find any 2-10 min tutorials then I usually download it to see if they have any cool examples included with the download. If the download is not organized in a way that I can easily understand or easily get something out of then I must admit then I drop it again and go back to Google to look for other plug-ins/frameworks.
So to summarize, the way I see it. A lightweight framework that no one knows… yet … needs to appeal to users by making sure they quickly get the point, in other words.
1) Tell me what you can do for me.
2) Show me how it can be used.
3) Make it short and precise.
There must be many more rules that should be in this list so please post your thoughts!