"*Step" is a "framework". Just like Microsoft Foundation Classes ("MFC") is a framework.
But MFC was (is) strictly tied to the C++ language, it could only create executables for the Windows platform, and, in general, you probably wouldn't *think* of trying to write or debug an MFC program without using Visual Studio (or a similar IDE). You *certainly* wouldn't do it with "notepad".
In the same sense, NextStep depended on Objective C, and was closely tied to the Next environment.
But to go back to CoderMan's original question: Objective C is *not* strictly tied to Apple (the company Steve Jobs ran before and after he ran Next), and does *not* require that you use *Step. Or Cocoa (another framework). It's just a wonderful language, in and of itself ;-)
'Hope that helps .. PSM