With the wide support for object serialization in object-oriented programming languages, persistent objects have become common place and most large object-oriented software systems rely on extensive amounts of persistent data. Such systems also evolve over time. Retrieving previously persisted objects from classes whose schema has changed is however difficult, and may lead to invalidating the consistency of the application. The ESCHER framework addresses these issues through an IDE-integrated approach that handles class schema evolution by managing versions of the code and generating transformation functions automatically. The infrastructure also enforces class invariants to prevent the introduction of potentially corrupt objects. This article describes a model for class attribute changes, a measure for class evolution robustness, four empirical studies, and the design and implementation of the ESCHER system.