My methods of validating new users is very similar to Tom's except They may not be as strict at times.
Jen, I don't think the solution recipe you're looking for will help with what building administration pages and functions. It's more about the basic user log in and initially setting the access levels. Data Assist really is the right tool for the job, although DW itself offers plenty of it's own tools to do it.
The process, even with DataAssist is based on the basic "search- results-detail" set of pages. For example, if you had a products database, the search page would contains form where you would enter a product name. That would take yo to the results page, that would list all the products that matched your search term. Each row in the list would contain a link that says "Detail" or "more info" and that would take you to the detail page, showing the details for that specific product. The detail page could be either just text, or have text fields in a form for updating.
I'll give you an overview on what you can do, but you'll need to find some tutorials on search-results-detail page sets, there are plenty out there.
1. First, create a new folder for your admin pages. Create a page here to serve as the admin home page.
2. Back in the main site, place a button or link to the new page. You can have just one, perhaps on the profile page, include it in the main Nav or footer Nav, whatever.
3. But wherever you do place a link to the admin main page, use security assist to only display the link if the user logged in has admin access. The link will be hidden to anyone else.
4. In the admin section, create three new pages - one for search, one for results, one for detail. Perhaps a 4th page for confirmation to an update.
5. Place a link to the search page on the main page.
6. On the search page, create a form with a text field and submit button. Name the text field, set the form action to go to the results page and set the method as POST.
7. On the results page, create a simple recordset, select all from the user table, filter it on the last name column, set the next drop down to "contains" or "Begins with", next drop down "form variable" and enter the name of the text box from the search page.
8. Create a table with a couple rows and a few columns. In the first row, enter column headings according to how much detail you want to display at this point.in the row bolos, drag the particular data element from the bindings panel to each cell. In the last column, just enter the word Detail.select the table row and apply a repeat dragoon.
If you were to test it now, you could enter a last name like Smith and the results should show all users with the last name of Smith. Test this using various last names, the beginnings if last names, and even just leaving it blank.
9. Now it's time to get to the detail. Select the word detail, and use the fo
Der icon to link it to the detail page. Before you close that dialog, click the Parameters button. Enter a name for your parameter, like UserID. For the value, select the lightning bolt. Find and expand the recordset and select the data element for the UserID. This can be a numerical primary key, the actual user ID as long as it's unique.
10. On the results page, create a reforest same as before, filter it on the same data element you chose before, equals, URL parameter, then enter the name of the parameter, UserID.
11. Create a form, place all the text boxes and submit button. For each text box, set the initial value using the lightning bolt icon from the record set. Apply an update behavior and it's all set.
So, now when you test, on the results page, "Detail" will be an active link that will pass the unique UserID to the detail page, telling it which specific user to pll up and populate the page, and which record to update.
A couple variations - instead of having a separate search page, you could place the form right on the main page. Also, if you have a smaller number if users, you could replace the search field with a drop down and dynamically populate it with the entire list of users. This way, you would be selecting the specific user from the get go, skip the results page and go right to the detail page.
At some point you'll also need to use SA to only allow admin access to these pages. I hope all this isn't too confusing, but it sold like you've already done similar things already in the main website with forms, recorders and the like.