One of the things I dislike most about some web frameworks is how they try to hide the machinery from your prying eyes.  In some cases, this can be downright necessary-- the mind that invented Django's ORM is clearly a twisted evil genius from Mars who knows more about metaprogramming than I do, although I have learned a lot from reading his code.  But the ORM isn't hidden, it's right there in the /db folder.

Kanso is a toolkit for rapidly building out Javascript applications that run on the CouchDB server.   I like the basic idea of it, and it comes with a primitive administrative interface that's something of a cross between Django's admin and a Rails scaffold-- it gives you ready access to a document and its properties, as long as you've defined those types clearly The Kanso Way™.  I'm not sure I entirely like "The Kanso Way"; I'm still trying to figure out how to integrate deep, complex documents with the Kanso Type manager, and how that relates to client-side utilities like Backbone or Scriptcore.

But if you want to really understand what a design doc looks like, the perfect tool is Couch-Docs, a tool (written in Ruby, alas) that can dump your design docs, and then re-upload them, all in one nice, compete package.  It makes laying out a couchdb application an utter breeze.  Handholding is sometimes indistinguishable restraint, and that's how I feel about Kanso and CouchApps in general.  Couch-Docs is CouchApp development for grownups.