Booyakasha! In a few simple examples, Chime illustrates just why I was so annoyed when I read the SPARQL spec drafts. Eric also has some good words on the matter. Sure, I'm biased as one of the inventors of Versa, but my reaction has more to do with SPARQL than Versa. Frankly, SPARQL bends my brain and twists my gut. Before I continue with my rant, I should say that I'm not blameless in this matter. I have a huge respect for the people working on SPARQL, and a lot of them (Dan Brickley, Libby Miller and Kendall Clark come to mind) were very polite in trying to get me more directly engaged in the standardization process. I just never had the time for more than the informal discussions I had with these folks, and apparently those who prefer SQLish syntax ended up dominating the important discussion or decisions.
It has never been Versa or the highway for me, but I was never going to swallow an RDF query language that used SQLish syntax. I always wanted a path-like language, preferably with a very "composable" syntax (which is why I went with such a functional language flavor in Versa). I'm far from alone in this. There have been many other respectable "pathy" RDF query proposals, and the feedback on Versa has been almost universally positive.
Apparently some people are very tied to their "SELECT"s. Isn't there room for those of us who just find it way too much of a conceptual mismatch from SQL conventions to RDF graphs? I have no choice but to make my own room. I'll continue working on Versa: it's time to start gathering my Versa 2.0 thoughts together. I'll implement Versa 2.0 for 4Suite, and help anyone who wants to implement it for any other tool (I hope that encourages Eric a bit). I may work on a Versa to SPARQL converter, but honestly, that's as much as I expect to ever have to do with SPARQL. No offense to any of the fine people involved. It just doesn't come close to fitting my head.