I'd be interested to know how Padrino compares to Monk.
At first glance Padrino seems closer to Rails in scale - which seems to defeat the whole minimalist mindset behind Sinatra. I mean, if I want Rails, I'll use Rails.
The extensive community support for Rails in combination with the improvements in Rails 3 already makes it difficult to justify using a smaller framework like Sinatra.
Many of the questions I have asked in the Sinatra community have gone unanswered so I imagine using Padrino (or even Monk) would simply add to that problem.
On the other hand, with Rails, the combination of StackOverflow, Google Groups and a plethora of Googleble web resources means you are never far from resolving a holdup.
Our team has used Rails and Sinatra both extensively for contract work and I would argue if you give Padrino + Sinatra a try that you will find it does not defeat the mentality of Sinatra. Instead Padrino simply complements the existing feature set with optional enhancements you might frequently need such as form helpers, tag helpers, localization, mailers and more.
I agree that community support for Sinatra and Padrino are considerably lacking in comparison to Rails. I don't think this is something that cannot be fixed however. Sinatra has only recently hit 1.0 stable which means that the community has just begun to grow. I can say our team at least is committed to helping anyone with problems associated with Sinatra/Padrino. Feel free to post any issues here: http://github.com/padrino/padrino-framework/issues if you find any specific problems.
IMO, this is a simpler rails that works the way I like it.
Sinatra (and Ramaze) also have the advantage of having been thoroughly tested and have a lot of eyeballs on them. Using Padrino (and perhaps Monk) creates the risk of (a) encountering framework boilerplate code that is buggy and (b) not having enough help to fix those problems because of insufficient resources on the part of the creators or insufficient community support.
That said, the documentation is impressive and attractive. The only suggestion I would make is the reduce the size of the downloadable screencast - no need for a 210MB video file for 12 minutes of video. Also, the version on Vimeo is unwatchable because it's not HD - it's difficult to read the source code on screen.
Now if you look some sources of padrino... you can see that is something more.
Comparaisons are good but please compare with some thing similar!
Among Godfather fans the connection to "Sinatra" is well known:
I continue to be pleased with how far the Ruby community has come in the last four or five years. Credit probably goes to Rails for revving up interest in Ruby.
Rails = MacBook Pro
Padrino = iPad?
And their docs look great! Super stoked, looks like I have a new weekend project