Here's having a go at John's address form using http://java.net/projects/gridbaglady.   Here is the jumble of code...

public class AddressFormPanel extends JPanel {    
    JTextField firstName = new JTextField();
    JTextField lastName = new JTextField();
    JTextField phone = new JTextField();
    JTextField email = new JTextField();
    JTextField address1 = new JTextField();
    JTextField address2 = new JTextField();
    JTextField city = new JTextField();
    JTextField state = new JTextField();
    JTextField postalCode = new JTextField();
    JTextField country = new JTextField();
    
    JButton newButton = new JButton("New");
    JButton deleteButton = new JButton("Delete");
    JButton editButton = new JButton("Edit");
    JButton saveButton = new JButton("Save");
    JButton cancelButton = new JButton("Cancel");

    JList selectionList = new JList();
    
    JSplitPane splitPane = new JSplitPane();
    
    public AddressFormPanel() {
        super(new GridBagLayout());
        JPanel formPanel = new JPanel(new GridBagLayout());
        formPanel.add(new JLabel("Last Name"), 
                Gbc.xyi(1, 0, 2).east());
        formPanel.add(lastName, 
                Gbc.xyi(2, 0, 2).horizontal());
        formPanel.add(new JLabel("First Name"), 
                Gbc.xyi(3, 0, 2));
        formPanel.add(firstName, 
                Gbc.xyi(4, 0, 2).horizontal());
        formPanel.add(new JLabel("Phone"), 
                Gbc.xyi(1, 1, 2).east());
        formPanel.add(phone, 
                Gbc.xyi(2, 1, 2).horizontal());
        JPanel emailPanel = new JPanel(new GridBagLayout());
        emailPanel.add(new JLabel("Email"), 
                Gbc.xyi(1, 0, 2));
        emailPanel.add(email, 
                Gbc.xyi(2, 0, 2).horizontal());
        formPanel.add(emailPanel, 
                Gbc.xyi(3, 1, 0).gridwidth(2).horizontal());        
        formPanel.add(new JLabel("Address 1"), 
                Gbc.xyi(1, 2, 2).east());
        formPanel.add(address1, 
                Gbc.xyi(2 , 2, 2).gridwidth(3).horizontal());
        formPanel.add(new JLabel("Address 2"), 
                Gbc.xyi(1, 3, 2).east());
        formPanel.add(address2, 
                Gbc.xyi(2, 3, 2).gridwidth(3).horizontal());
        formPanel.add(new JLabel("City"), 
                Gbc.xyi(1, 4, 2).east());
        formPanel.add(city, 
                Gbc.xyi(2, 4, 2).horizontal());
        formPanel.add(new JLabel("State"), 
                Gbc.xyi(1, 5, 2).east());
        formPanel.add(state, 
                Gbc.xyi(2, 5, 2).horizontal());
        formPanel.add(new JLabel("Postal Code"), 
                Gbc.xyi(3, 5, 2).east());
        formPanel.add(postalCode, 
                Gbc.xyi(4, 5, 2).horizontal());
        formPanel.add(new JLabel("Country"), 
                Gbc.xyi(1, 6, 2).east());
        formPanel.add(country, 
                Gbc.xyi(2, 6, 2).horizontal());
        JPanel buttonPanel = new JPanel(new GridBagLayout());
        buttonPanel.add(newButton, 
                Gbc.xyi(1, 0, 2));
        buttonPanel.add(deleteButton, 
                Gbc.xyi(2, 0, 2));
        buttonPanel.add(editButton, 
                Gbc.xyi(3, 0, 2));
        buttonPanel.add(saveButton, 
                Gbc.xyi(4, 0, 2));
        buttonPanel.add(cancelButton, 
                Gbc.xyi(5, 0, 2));
        JScrollPane scrollPane = new JScrollPane(selectionList);
        JPanel leftPanel = new JPanel(new GridBagLayout());
        JPanel rightPanel = new JPanel(new GridBagLayout());
        leftPanel.add(scrollPane, 
                Gbc.xyi(0, 0, 4).both());
        rightPanel.add(formPanel, 
                Gbc.xyi(0, 0, 4).horizontal().north());
        rightPanel.add(buttonPanel, 
                Gbc.xyi(0, 1, 4).south().top(8));
        rightPanel.add(new JPanel(), 
                Gbc.xyi(0, 2, 0).vertical());
        splitPane.setLeftComponent(leftPanel);
        splitPane.setRightComponent(rightPanel);
        splitPane.setDividerLocation(100);
        add(splitPane, 
                Gbc.xyi(0, 0, 2).both());
    }   
}
where Gbc.xyi() is a static convenience method with parameters gridx, gridy and an "inset" for all round. Yes, it is like the Matrix. It's easy though because you got auto-completion, error highlighting et al, in your IDE, which you don't have if you were to edit this as an XML thingy. But it's probably easier and faster to use a GUI builder. Anyway, the more you use Gbc, the more second-nature it becomes - like with anything. Here's the picture... addressForm2.png For hand coding, i find i gotta stick to one layout manager (the Matrix) otherwise i get very confused, very quickly. To simplify layout, i reckon its best to have as many subpanels as possible. And a "spacer panel" or two is usually called for, certainly with Gbc. 

Resources

https://code.google.com/p/vellum/ - where i will collate these articles and their code.