A method for using dependency-based grouping to establish class identity comprises categorizing a plurality of classes into a set of class groups based at least in part on one or more dependencies between the classes, and generating metadata to be use for loading the classes, where the metadata includes a mapping between the set of class groups and the plurality of classes. The metadata may also include respective signatures for class groups and/or the individual classes. The method may also include validating, using at least a portion of the metadata, the identity of a particular version of a class of the plurality of classes, prior to loading the version for execution.
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