GitHub is making the jump from Web-based platform to desktop collaboration.

This week’s GitHub Project of the Week is not a project at all, but the next natural extension of GitHub’s open-source platform itself. The repository-hosting service has become the social collaboration hub for open-source development, and with the announcement of GitHub Desktop, it looks to entrench its brand as an OS X and Windows application. Developers can use all the same functionality as GitHub’s Web version—cloning repositories, forking projects, creating branches, submitting changes and sharing code—from the native desktop app.

GitHub’s blog post draws attention to a few key desktop features:

  • Branch off: Branches, used for proposing changes and reviewing code on GitHub, are available in GitHub Desktop’s repository view.
  • Collaborate: Select files or specific lines that make up a change directly from a diff to create a commit. Developers can commit changes or open a pull request without leaving GitHub Desktop or using the command line.
  • Merge and deploy: Developers can browse commits on local and remote branches to quickly view changes waiting to be merged, as well as merge code to the master branch for deployment from within the app.

More details about GitHub Desktop are available in the full release notes.