This week's book giveaway is in the OCAJP 8 forum. We're giving away four copies of OCA Java SE 8 Programmer I Study Guide and have Edward Finegan & Robert Liguori on-line! See this thread for details.
Ifm you want to torture yourself ( ;) ) you could look at the GridBagLayout and its partner in crime GridBagConstraints. They're quite a pain to work with.
If all labels and text fields can be equally large you can use a GridLayout. This layout, which can take a parameter in the constructor for the gap, can display all components in a sort of table. Each of the cells of the table is equally large, and filling the complete size of the parent container. So if your panel resizes, all these cells resize as well. I wouldn't recommend this layout if your panel can resize.
My favourite layout manager is the FormLayout from JGoodies.com. Like the GridLayout it creates a table inside your panel, but you can specify a lot better for each row and column what the size should be. GridBagLayout can do the same but is much more complex. An example:
Some comments: each column specification is separated by a comma. pref means that the preferred size of the largest component is used. All other components are resized. fill:pref:g means pref, but if the panel resizes this control resizes along. The 1dlu is the default spacing in FormLayout GUIs; you can omit it (meaning no gaps between the controls) or increase it.
Unlike arrays, cells numbering starts at 1. For the rest it's quite similar to arrays. You can also specify that a component should stretch over multiple cells; use cc.xywh(1, 1, 3, 1) to stretch over the first three columns of the first row.
Java 1.6 introduced the GroupLayout which may also do what you want, but I haven't used it yet.
[ November 02, 2007: Message edited by: Rob Prime ] [ November 02, 2007: Message edited by: Rob Prime ]