This week's book giveaway is in the OCMJEA forum. We're giving away four copies of OCM Java EE 6 Enterprise Architect Exam Guide and have Paul Allen & Joseph Bambara on-line! See this thread for details.
Cay Horstmann (cf Horstmann C, Cornell G, Core Java 2, vol I-Fundamentals, Santa Clara: Sun Microsystems Press, 2004, pages 430-440) and this website) has his own ideas about GridBagLayout, and has a "helper" class which you can download from the website cited. I agree with him that it makes GridBagLayout much much easier to use.
BTW: If you really are a "greenhorn," borrow the book from the library rather than buying it. It is not suitable for beginners.