On a Mac, if you hold shift and press the backspace key, it performs a forward-delete (the same as pressing "delete" on a non-Mac keyboard). Is there any way to change this to just be a regular backspace?
You can try to change your keyboard layout in
Language and Text,
Input Sources. The Keyboard Viewer, accessible from the menubar item you can enable in that same preference pane enables you to preview keyboard layouts you temporarily select via the same menubar item. You just need to check them in the list to enable them.
You can also use Ukelele to create your own custom keyboard layout.
This can also be a custom command in your programming editor. IDEs often create additional shortcuts that alleviate the sometimes painfully lame input/shortcut options integrated in the system. Check
TextEdit.app if it behaves the same, only then is it layout-related.