I switched from VB because of the issues with .Net - who wants to write anything that doesn't work two times out of four on other machines? The brief time I spent with it, I found it relatively easy to grasp and Google was very good at finding solutions to problems. M$ have done a good job of making the basics simple, so brownie points to them.
Delphi Turbo Edition 2006 has a similar feel to VB 2005 Express Edition (as well as being the same price - free!) with regard to the programming interface, but is irritatingly just not like VB when writing code. If you want to code, I recommend you pick one and go with it as trying to grasp both will do terrible things to your keyboard when you enter a command that you know works but won't, and then you finally realise it's the wrong language!
I feel that the availability of online information is far less than that of VB, so if you've a problem, you'll have to look harder for a solution, unless you can ask on a forum. The books are also far fewer on the ground if you want to learn Delhi, particularly if you want up-to-date and simple. I've had to buy books that are several versions old in order to find ones that are written for the slower coder - avoid Delphi 2005 by Marco Cantu as it's incomprehensible to the numpty!
The best one i've found so far is this one
. The latest version is the Fourth Edition, but I went for the Third as I didn't think the difference would justify the extra pennies and I also ended up with the South African version which dropped the price a little more.
For Turbo Delphi Explorer:
A little explanation of how to go about it: http://www.duntemann.com/delphisq1part1.htm
It's a touch out of date, linkwise, but the rest is accurate. Don't forget the email address as you need what they send you in order to get it running - a magic text file!
Download link: http://cc.codegear.com/Free.aspx?id=24722
(Yes, 325 Mb!)
Don't forget the English full prerequisite install - this needs to install first.
Free videos: http://blogs.codegear.com/nickhodges/index.php?p=26687
There are a few more download options here: http://www.codegear.com/downloads/free/turbo
I avoided the .NET version because of issues with VB, so I can't comment on it.
Turbo Delphi, except the .Net version, should compile to a small independent .exe also.