For accessing the DOM you can use GWT's Element classes which are implemented using JSNI. Its a thin layer with some adjustments to be cross browser compatible. Since it tries to be cross browser compatible you won't find the newest JS Element APIs here. If you need newer browser features then you either have to use JSNI / JsInterop yourself of use the Elemental library. However as you noted Elemental is based on WebKit so some things simply won't work in all browser. Its up to you to figure out if its safe to use some Elemental APIs based on your decision which browsers you want to support in your app. With GWT 3 or so there will be Elemental 2.0 which will be implemented using JsInterop and will be based on html5index.org. So it won't be webkit specific anymore.
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